Will there be enough general surgeons to meet the needs of an aging population? How will the supply affect hospital ORs? Findings from a new study suggest the nation could be facing a shortage. The number of general surgeons per 100,000 Americans has fallen by more than 25% over the past 25 years. In 2005, the national average was 5.7 per 100,000, down from 7.7 per 100,000 in 1981.