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Trends in the Types of Physicians Performing Partial Foot Amputations

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  • 1 Department of Surgery, Abington Hospital, Abington, PA.
  • | 2 Department of Surgery, Chestnut Hill Hospital, Philadelphia, PA.
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Background:

Partial foot amputations (PFAs) are often indicated for the treatment of severe infection, osteomyelitis, and critical limb ischemia, which consequently leads to irreversible necrosis. Many patients who undergo PFAs have concomitant comorbidities and generally present with a severe acute manifestation of the condition, such as gangrenous changes, systemic infection, or debilitating pain, which would then require emergency amputation on an inpatient basis.

Methods:

The purpose of this study was to track the recent prevalence of PFAs and to investigate the current demographic trends of the physicians managing and performing PFAs, specifically regarding medical degree and specialty. Doctors of podiatric medicine are striving to achieve parity with their allopathic and osteopathic surgical counterparts and become a more prominent part of the multidisciplinary approach to limb salvage and emergency surgical treatment. This study evaluated 4 years (2009–2012) of PFA data from the Pennsylvania state inpatient database in the two most populated areas of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia and Allegheny counties. Statistics on medical schools were obtained directly from the accrediting bodies of allopathic, osteopathic, and podiatric medical schools. The goal of this study was to evaluate the general trends of patients undergoing a PFA and to quantify the upswing of podiatric surgeons intervening in the surgical care of these patients.

Results:

The number of partial foot amputations in the United States rose from 2006 to 2012. Podiatric surgeons performed 46% of theses procedures for residents of Philadelphia County from 2009 to 2012. In Allegheny County podiatric physicians performed 42% of these procedures during the same time frame.

Conclusions:

Partial foot amputations are increasing over time. Podiatric Surgeons perform a significant share of these operations. This share is increasing in the most populated areas of Pennsylvania.

Corresponding author: Ronald Renzi, DPM, Abington Hospital, 2002 Woodland Rd, Abington, PA 19001. (E-mail: ron.renzi@renzipodiatry.com)