In 2022, 849 orthopaedic surgeons took the annual oral Part II Examination of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS).  708 passed and 141 failed, for a failure rate of 17 percent.  Previously, the failure rate was approximately 6.5 percent.  All Part II examinees have completed an accredited orthopaedic residency, passed the written Part I Examination, and practiced orthopaedic surgery for at least two years.

A 17 percent failure rate on the Part II Examination is outrageous, and calls for an independent investigation.  Members of the Boards of Directors of both the ABOS and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) should be held accountable.  The extremely well-funded AAOS directly selects a portion of the members of the ABOS Board, and probably has what amounts to a veto power over the selection of most of the other ABOS Board members.  So far, to my knowledge, the ABOS and AAOS Board members have given no explanation for the 17 percent failure rate in 2022, which has left 141 orthopaedic surgeons, none of whom I know, in  professional limbo.  It's shameful.

The conflict of interest for the ABOS and AAOS is obvious, but never acknowledged: the more testing the ABOS does, the more money it makes and the more examination prep courses the AAOS can sell for profit.

Bruce Schlafy, MD,FAAOS  (ABOS certified and recertified since 1988) 10004 Kennerly Road, suite 259-B, St. Louis, MO 63128

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