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Fewer Than 200 Pediatric Neurosurgeons in US

Pediatric neurosurgeons more likely to be women and have fewer financial motivators

THURSDAY, Jan. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Fewer than 200 neurosurgeons in the United States are currently focused on pediatric neurosurgery, with pediatric neurosurgeons more likely to be women, in academic practice, frequently on-call and have fewer financial motivators, according to study findings published in the January issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics.

Susan R. Durham, M.D., of Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, N.H., and colleagues surveyed 250 neurosurgeons (158 pediatric and 92 non-pediatric) regarding their demographic and practice characteristics.

The researchers found that pediatric neurosurgeons were more likely to be women, have completed a pediatric fellowship, do fewer surgical cases per year, be on-call more often, practice in a children's hospital, spend fewer hours per week in patient care, and be in academic practice. Unlike non-academic pediatric neurosurgeons, academic pediatric neurosurgeons were less likely to have a productivity-based salary or salary incentives. Pediatric neurosurgeons were more likely to be certified by the American Board of Pediatric Neurological Surgery, the study notes.

"We estimate that there are currently fewer than 200 neurosurgeons in the United States who direct 75 percent or more of their clinical effort to the care of children," Durham and colleagues conclude. "Current practice patterns unique to pediatric practitioners, such as a lower case volume, more frequent call responsibilities and fewer financial motivators, may profoundly affect the number of new trainees choosing to enter the workforce over the next decade."

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