The incidence of orthopaedic surgery for young people with childhood onset of orthopaedic disabilities is not well documented. This study tabulated that incidence in the past two decades in California. Trauma, tumors, and hand surgery were not included in the study. Common pediatric orthopaedic diagnoses by ICD-9 code requiring CPT orthopaedic surgical procedures were tabulated in three years: 1983, 1990, and 1999. The most common procedures in each of these years studied were, in order of incidence, scoliosis, congenital hip problems, slipped femoral capital epiphyses, and clubfeet. The incidence of surgery for scoliosis and slipped femoral capital epiphyses increased over the past two decades. These data should be helpful in planning for future inpatient services for orthopaedically handicapped children.