Monday, April 21, 2008

Number of surgeons decline in U.S.

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CHICAGO (Reuters) - The United States may be facing a shortage of general surgeons, even as a growing and aging population creates a rising need for their broad capabilities, researchers said on Monday.

There was a 26 percent decline in the number of practicing general surgeons per 100,000 Americans between 1981 and 2005, according to an analysis of data from the American Medical Association.

General surgeons can operate on any part of the body and are especially useful in emergencies involving multiple injuries.

"There is some question as to whether there will be an adequate number of general surgeons to care for an increasingly elderly population, with its attendant increased demand for surgical care," Dr. Dana Lynge of the University of Washington in Seattle, wrote in the Archives of Surgery.

The trend could cause a crisis in some rural areas where finding any type of surgeon can be difficult, Lynge wrote.


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