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Limb Lengthening and Reconstruction Society orthopedic surgeons in the United States: An analysis of geographical distribution, academic, leadership, and demographic characteristics.

BACKGROUND: The Limb Lengthening and Reconstruction Society (LLRS) is a premier orthopedic specialty organization that promotes limb reconstruction for all ages. LLRS membership characteristics, however, are poorly reported. This study delineates orthopedic surgeon LLRS members' demographic traits, academic achievement, leadership attainment, and geographical distribution across the United States.

AIM: To inform aspiring orthopedic professionals, as well as to promote growth and diversity in both the LLRS organization and overarching field.

METHODS: This cross-sectional study examined United States LLRS members' academic, leadership, demographic, and geographical attributes. After reviewing the 2023 LLRS member directory, Google search results were matched to the listings and appended to the compiled data. Sex and ethnicity were evaluated visually utilizing retrieved images. The Hirsch index (H-index) of academic activity, residency and fellowship training, other graduate degrees, leadership positions, practice type (academic or non-academic), and spoken languages were categorized. LLRS members per state and capita determined geographic distribution. The Mann-Whitney U test was applied to compare H-index between males and females, as well as to assess member differences pertaining to affiliation with academic vs non-academic practice facilities.

RESULTS: The study included 101 orthopedic surgeons, 78 (77.23%) Caucasian and 23 (22.77%) non-Caucasian, 79 (78.22%) male and 22 (21.78%) female. Surgeons with DO degrees comprised only 3.96% (4) of the cohort, while the vast majority held MDs [96.04% (97)]. Mean H-index was 10.55, with male surgeons having a significantly higher score ( P = 0.002). Most orthopedic surgeons (88.12%,) practiced in academic centers. Of those professionals who occupied leadership positions, 14% were women, while 86% were men. Additionally, 19 (37.25%) United States regions and the District of Columbia lacked an LLRS-member orthopedic surgeon. Total per capita rate across the United States was 0.30 LLRS orthopedic surgeons per 1 million people.

CONCLUSION: Over 21% of LLRS members are women, surpassing prior benchmarks noted in orthopedic faculty reporting. LLRS members' high research productivity scores imply field dedication that can refine expertise in the limb lengthening and reconstruction space. Gender disparities in leadership remain, however, necessitating greater equity efforts. A low rate of LLRS representation per capita must be addressed geographically as well, to affect improvements in regional care access. This study can serve to support aspiring orthopedic professionals, inform diversity, leadership, and field advancement strategies, and maintain the continued goal of enhanced patient care worldwide.

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