DOI: 10.1097/bpo.0000000000002602 ISSN: 0271-6798

2015–2021 Industry Payments to Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgeons: Analysis of Trends and Characteristics of Top-earning Surgeons

McKenna C. Noe, Ellie Kaji, George Thomas, Jonathan R. Warren, Richard M. Schwend
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • General Medicine
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology and Child Health


Analysis of industry payments to pediatric orthopaedic surgeons last occurred in 2017. We investigated payments to pediatric orthopaedic surgeons from 2015 to 2021 to understand surgeon characteristics associated with increased industry payments.


Open Payments Database datasets from 2015 to 2021 were queried for nonresearch payments to pediatric orthopaedic surgeons. Annual aggregates and subcategories were recorded. For surgeons receiving payments in 2021, the Hirsch index (h-index), gender, and US census division were found using the Scopus database, Open Payments Database, and online hospital profiles, respectively. χ2, Fisher exact, Mann-Whitney U, and t tests were used to compare surgeons in the top 25%, 10%, and 5% payment percentiles to the bottom 75%, 90%, and 95%, respectively.


Payments rose 125% from 2015 to 2021. Education, royalties, and faculty/speaker increased most, while travel/lodging, honoraria, charitable contributions, and ownership interest decreased. Only royalties increased from 2019 to 2021. In 2021, of 419 pediatric orthopaedic surgeons receiving industry payments, men received greater median aggregate payments than women ($379.03 vs. $186.96, P=0.047). There were no differences in gender proportions between the top 75% and bottom 25% (P=0.054), top 10% and bottom 90% (P=0.235), and top 5% and bottom 95% (P=0.280) earning comparison groups. The h-index was weakly positively correlated with industry payments (r s=0.203, P<0.001). Mean h-indices in the 75th (P<0.001, 95% CI: 2.62-7.65), 90th (P=0.001, 95% CI: 3.28-13.03), and 95th (P=0.005, 95% CI: 4.25-21.11) percentiles were significantly higher. Proportions of surgeons from the Middle Atlantic and West South Central in the 90th (P=0.025) and 95th percentiles (P=0.033), respectively, were significantly lower compared to all other regions. A higher proportion of surgeons from the Pacific were placed in the 90th (P=0.004) and 95th (P=0.024) percentiles.


Industry payments to pediatric orthopaedic surgeons rose from 2015 to 2021. Most categories fell from 2019 to 2021, which may be related to the SARS-CoV-19 pandemic. In 2021, though gender was not related to aggregate payment percentile, location in select US census divisions and h-index was.

Level of Evidence:

Level II—Retrospective study.

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