A photo of Roger Cornwall.

Pediatric Hand Surgeon

Clinical Director, Division of Pediatric Orthopaedics 

Director, Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery Fellowship

Professor, UC Department of Orthopedic Surgery



Board Certified

"I believe that empowering patients is crucial to long-term success in the care of many orthopaedic problems. My holistic approach to complex upper limb conditions considers the health of the whole child before resorting to surgical intervention."

My Biography & Research


As a pediatric hand and upper extremity surgeon, I perform hand and upper limb surgeries for children and young adults. These can include surgeries for hand injuries, congenital hand differences and brachial plexus injuries.

The intricacy and importance of the human hand and upper limb, combined with the joy and optimism of children, is what drew me to my career. In my practice, I believe that empowering patients is crucial to long-term success in the care of many orthopaedic problems. My holistic approach to complex upper limb conditions considers the health of the whole child before resorting to surgical intervention.

This approach has earned me a number of local and national honors for clinical care, patient and family experience, and teaching. These awards include the Patients’ Choice, Compassionate Doctor and Top 10 Doctor from Vitals, and the Castle Connolly America’s Top Doctors award for several years, including 2020.

I founded the Hand and Upper Extremity Center at Cincinnati Children's, where our surgeons, midlevel providers, occupational therapists and nurses work as a team to provide the best possible care to each patient.

I also greatly value research to improve the care we are able to provide. In my clinical research, I focus on patient-reported outcomes of pediatric hand and upper extremity conditions. Listening to the patient perspective is critical to improving our care. In my basic science research, we are examining neuromuscular contractures, particularly those that occur in brachial plexus birth injuries and cerebral palsy. We have discovered the biological basis of these contractures and a way to prevent them using medications. By continuing our translational research, we hope to be able to eliminate the surgeries required for these conditions.

I’m one of only a handful of pediatric orthopaedic surgeons who have been awarded funding from the National Institutes of Health for basic science research. I’ve received multiple research awards from the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America (POSNA), the American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH), the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF) and the Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS).

When I’m not working, I cherish parenting my five sons, including two sets of twins. I also write and record music, do gymnastics and run ultramarathons.

Clinical Interests

Brachial plexus birth palsy; pediatric hand and wrist trauma; congenital hand and upper extremity abnormalities; complex pediatric elbow trauma and deformities; gymnast wrist.

Research Interests

Brachial plexus injury and the growth and development of muscles; minimally invasive surgical treatment for shoulder contracture in brachial plexus birth palsy; nerve transfers for unreconstructable brachial plexus birth injuries; outcomes following surgical and nonsurgical treatment algorithms for pediatric hand fractures; outcomes of non-operative and operative treatment algorithms for chronic adolescent wrist pain.

Academic Affiliation

Professor, UC Department of Orthopedic Surgery

Clinical Divisions

Orthopaedic Surgery, Brachial Plexus, Hand and Upper Extremity, Fanconi Anemia

Research Divisions

Orthopaedics, Developmental Biology, Neuromuscular Development

My Locations

My Education

MD: Columbia University, New York, NY, 1997.

Residency: Orthopaedic Surgery, Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, NY, 2002.

Fellowship: Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery, Harvard University, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, MA, 2003.

Fellowship: Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, 2004.

Visiting Fellowship: Pediatric Orthopaedic and Hand Surgery, Groote Schuur Hospital and Red Cross Children's Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa, 2004.

Visiting Fellowship: Pediatric Hand and Brachial Plexus Surgery, l'Institut de la Main, Paris, France, 2004.

Certification: American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, 2006; Certificate of Added Qualifications in Surgery of the Hand, The American Board of Surgery, 2009. 

My Publications

ICF linking of patient-reported therapy goals for children with acquired upper extremity impairment. Dorich, JM; Cornwall, R; Uhl, T. Journal of Hand Therapy. 2021.

NRG/ErbB signaling regulates neonatal muscle growth but not neuromuscular contractures in neonatal brachial plexus injury. Ho, BL; Goh, Q; Nikolaou, S; Hu, L; Shay-Winkler, K; Cornwall, R. FEBS Letters. 2021; 595:655-666.

Timing of proteasome inhibition as a pharmacologic strategy for prevention of muscle contractures in neonatal brachial plexus injury. Goh, Q; Nikolaou, S; Shay-Winkler, K; Emmert, ME; Cornwall, R. FASEB Journal. 2021; 35.

Clinical practice guidelines: Oral health care for children and adults living with epidermolysis bullosa. Krämer, S; Lucas, J; Gamboa, F; Peñarrocha Diago, M; Peñarrocha Oltra, D; Guzmán-Letelier, M; Paul, S; Molina, G; Sepúlveda, L; Araya, I; et al. Special Care in Dentistry. 2020; 40 Suppl 1:3-81.

A psychometric comparison of patient-reported outcome measures used in pediatric hand therapy. Dorich, JM; Cornwall, R. Journal of Hand Therapy. 2020; 33:477-483.

Scientific advances in the understanding of contracture pathogenesis in brachial plexus birth injury. Goh, Q; Cornwall, R. 2020; 2:1-18.

Describing pediatric fractures in the era of ICD-10. Laor, T; Cornwall, R. Pediatric Radiology. 2020; 50:761-775.

Reconstruction of the Suprascapular Nerve in Brachial Plexus Birth Injury: A Comparison of Nerve Grafting and Nerve Transfers. Manske, MC; Kalish, LA; Cornwall, R; Peljovich, AE; Bauer, AS; Grp, TO B I S. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery - Series A. 2020; 102:298-308.

Microsurgery for Brachial Plexus Injury Before Versus After 6 Months of Age: Results of the Multicenter Treatment and Outcomes of Brachial Plexus Injury (TOBI) Study. Bauer, AS; Kalish, LA; Adamczyk, MJ; Bae, DS; Cornwall, R; James, MA; Lightdale-Miric, N; Peljovich, AE; Waters, PM; Plexus, TO B. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery - Series A. 2020; 102:194-204.

Brachial plexus pre- and post-op management: Secondary. Allgier, A; Cornwall, R. Pediatric Hand Therapy. 2020.