Private Equity Ownership of Orthopaedic Practices

A number of factors affect the risk:benefit calculations, and these vary by practice


Private equity (PE) firms’ ownership of physician groups is expanding, and orthopaedic practices are a key target. As the U.S. population ages, orthopaedic care is in high demand and provides numerous opportunities for profit, particularly with surgeries, advanced imaging, and physical therapy.

To stay competitive but avoid selling out to hospitals or health plans, independent orthopaedic practices are increasingly distributing a share of their practices to PE firms. Physician-shareholders can earn millions of dollars in cash payouts in exchange for financial control of their practice and are further incentivized by the potential for a future investor offering more. PE support can mean a practice may remain independent and can accept more value-based payment arrangements, but it may also result in higher prices and less access for patients in need.


The first major PE orthopaedic deals began in 2017. In 2022 alone, PE firms bought 15 orthopaedic practices.