The Effect of Sex on Orthopaedic Surgeon Income

Kathleen S. Beebe, Ethan S. Krell, Nicole D. Rynecki, Joseph A. Ippolito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background: Several studies have identified discrepancies in salary between male and female surgeons. Our aim was to investigate the impact of sex on an orthopaedic surgeon's yearly earnings by evaluating stratified income and specialty data from a large sample survey of orthopaedic surgeons. Methods: Self-reported data were obtained from the 2014 and 2008 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) biennial censuses. Responses were received from 6,805 (24.26%) of those who were surveyed. The census form is a 19-question survey that includes information regarding work status (full time versus part time), sex, years in practice, practice type (private versus academic), specialty, hours worked, case volume, and income. The main outcome evaluated was self-reported income, and a multivariate regression model was used to control for confounding variables. Results: Male surgeons reported higher incomes than female colleagues working equivalent hours ($802,474 versus $560,618; p = 0.016); however, male surgeons reported a greater case volume for the same number of hours. Among surgeons who performed ≥26 procedures per month, male and female surgeons reported comparable incomes ($949,508 versus $872,903; p = 0.649). Incomes of those in practice for >20 years also were comparable. Regression analysis controlling for subspecialty choice, hours worked, work status, case volume, years in practice, and practice setting revealed that income was $62,032.51 less for women than men (p < 0.001).Conclusions:Income disparity between male and female orthopaedic surgeons remains significant, and the gap increased from 2008 to 2014. Although subspecialty choice, practice setting, years in practice, and amount and distribution of procedures performed can partially explain salary differences, our regression analysis suggests persistence of an income gap based on sex in orthopaedic surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e87
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery - American Volume
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 4 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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