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March 28, 1977

Surgeons in the United States-Reply

JAMA. 1977;237(13):1313-1314. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270400017011

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In Reply.—  From the tenor of Dr Brown's letter, we would judge that he is one of the busier surgeons. However, our data, obtained from a large sample of all US surgeons, showed that most had only modest work loads. This is supported by the data from the questionnaire study that appeared in The Journal, as well as other analyses that were not published because of space limitations. In particular, 23% of the surgical specialists reported that they had performed fewer than 100 operations during the year previous to the study. The figure of 200 operations per year mentioned by Dr Brown was about 15% higher than the median operations load (170) for all surgeons. Also, the surgeons reported that, on average, 50% of their office patients consulted them for nonsurgical illnesses.Data from our companion area studies (N Engl J Med 295:921-926, 982-989, 1976) also support the conclusion of low