Musculoskeletal disorders in children are common and comprise 20% to 30% of the complaints observed by primary care physicians. Most primary care physicians prefer to refer patients with pediatric musculoskeletal conditions to the pediatric orthopaedic surgeon; most of whom are treated nonoperatively. Pediatric orthopaedic surgeons are well trained to provide efficient, cost-effective, and definitive quality care. This article supports the supposition that pediatric orthopaedic surgeons are the primary care physicians for children with musculoskeletal disorders. This article focuses on the primary clinical responsibilities of the pediatric orthopaedic surgeon, describes the value of this practice, and contrasts their responsibilities from that of other orthopaedic subspecialties.
*Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, Cincinnati, OH
†Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey
‡Department of Orthopaedics, Children's Hospital of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, OK
§Fondren Orthopedic Group, LLP, Houston, TX
∥Children's Hospital Central California, Madera, CA
¶Pediatric Orthopaedics Associates of Silicon Valley, San Jose, CA
♯Department of Orthopedics, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
**Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Children's Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, MO
††Orthopaedic Department, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Financial Disclosures: Dr Jeffrey S. Kanel receives consulting fees from Orthopediatrics. The remaining authors have no disclosures.
Reprints: James J. McCarthy, MD, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, 3333 Burnet Avenue, ML 2017, Cincinnati, OH 45229. e-mail: James.McCarthy@cchmc.org.