Surgeons May Soon Be in Short Supply

Study finds there won't be enough heart, eye doctors to treat aging population

(HealthDay is the new name for HealthScoutNews.)

THURSDAY, July 24, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Finding a surgeon could become more difficult in the next 20 years, especially for older people, predicts a new UCLA study.

The demand for cataract surgery is expected to increase 47 percent by 2020, and the demand for heart surgery should increase 42 percent, according to the study, which based its predictions on analyses of surgical and census data. Both types of surgery are performed mostly on older adults, the population group that's expected to grow the most -- by 53 percent by 2020.

Traditionally, the demand has been for more general practitioners, but the requirements of an aging population will make surgeons and geriatric specialists the most needed, the study says.

In addition, the researchers say, technology that has made surgery easier has also increased the demand. Results of the study appear in the August issue of the Annals of Surgery.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about finding a qualified surgeon.

SOURCE: University of California, Los Angeles, Health Sciences, news release, July 17, 2003
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