A photo of Roger Cornwall.

Roger Cornwall, MD

  • Pediatric Hand Surgeon, Division of Pediatric Orthopaedics
  • Clinical Director, Division of Pediatric Orthopaedics 
  • Director, Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery Fellowship
  • Professor, UC Department of Orthopedic Surgery
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.
Roger Cornwall, MD



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.

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. 


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

Services and Specialties

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


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.

Research Areas

Orthopaedics, Developmental Biology, Neuromuscular Development

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The role of sympathetic innervation in neonatal muscle growth and neuromuscular contractures. Runkel, MT; Tarabishi, A; Shay-Winkler, K; Emmert, ME; Goh, Q; Cornwall, R. FEBS Journal. 2023; 290:4877-4898.

Impact of brachial plexus birth injury on health-related quality of life in adulthood: a mixed methods survey study. Dorich, JM; Whiting, J; Plano Clark, VL; Ittenbach, RF; Cornwall, R. Disability and Rehabilitation. 2023; ahead-of-print:1-14.

Pediatric Flexor Tendon Injuries. Starr, BW; Cornwall, R. Hand Clinics. 2023; 39:227-233.

Glenohumeral Joint Secondary Procedures for Obstetrical Brachial Plexus Birth Palsy. Cornwall, R; King, JD. The Pediatric Upper Extremity. : Springer Nature; Springer Nature; 2023.

ICF linking of patient-reported therapy goals for children with acquired upper extremity impairment. Dorich, JM; Cornwall, R; Uhl, T. Journal of Hand Therapy. 2023; 36:74-84.

Hand surgery and hand therapy clinical practice guideline for epidermolysis bullosa. Box, R; Bernardis, C; Pleshkov, A; Jessop, N; Miller, C; Skye, J; O’Brien, V; Veerkamp, M; da Rocha, AC F; Cornwall, R. Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases. 2022; 17:406.

Sex-specific role of myostatin signaling in neonatal muscle growth, denervation atrophy, and neuromuscular contractures. Emmert, ME; Aggarwal, P; Shay-Winkler, K; Lee, SJ; Goh, Q; Cornwall, R. eLife. 2022; 11:e81121.

Brachial plexus birth injury and cerebral palsy lead to a common contracture phenotype characterized by reduced functional muscle length and strength. Nikolaou, S; Garcia, MC; Long, JT; Allgier, AJ; Goh, Q; Cornwall, R. Frontiers in Rehabilitation Sciences. 2022; 3:983159.

Rare Presentation of Pediatric Multiple Enchondromatosis Limited to Single Ray or Single Nerve Distribution in the Hand: A Multicenter Case Series. Muffly, BT; O'shaughnessy, MA; Fazal, FZ; Riley, SA; Shah, AS; Cornwall, R; Burke, CS. Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics. 2022; 42:e788-e792.

Evaluation of a Grip-Strengthening Algorithm for the Initial Treatment of Chronic, Nonspecific Wrist Pain in Adolescents. Dorich, JM; Cornwall, R. Journal of Hand Surgery Global Online. 2022; 4:8-13.

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