A photo of James J. McCarthy.

James J. McCarthy, MD, MHCM

  • Director, Division of Pediatric Orthopaedics
  • Medical Director, Motion Analysis Laboratory 
  • Co-Director, Limb Lengthening and Reconstruction Center
  • Alvin Crawford Chair in Pediatric Orthopaedics
  • Professor, UC Department of Orthopedic Surgery
When surgery is needed, my goal is to ensure that we tailor the procedure to the patient’s and family’s wishes and circumstances, as well as to decrease complications and lower the risks for the patient.
James J. McCarthy, MD, MHCM



As director of the Division of Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery, I specialize in the assessment and treatment of children and young adults with hip issues and limb deformities. My focus is on children with cerebral palsy, especially those who have hip dislocations, scoliosis and gait abnormalities.

Although I am a surgeon, I often look for ways to minimize the surgical burden or avoid surgery altogether. When surgery is needed, my goal is to ensure that we tailor the procedure to the patient’s and family’s wishes and circumstances, as well as to decrease complications and lower the risks for the patient. I tend to treat highly complex conditions that require longer, more complex procedures. My approach is that each patient and each procedure is unique.

My motivation to pursue my career came in part from my engineering background — I was initially trained as an engineer. It also came from my parents and mentors, who dedicated their lives to improving the care of children, especially those with disabilities. As I mature in my practice, my drive comes from the extraordinary patients and families that I am privileged to know and be involved in their care.

Here at Cincinnati Children’s, we have an amazing depth of knowledge in orthopaedics. Our team of surgeons each have a specific focus and work closely as a team. We have one of the largest and most comprehensive centers for the care of children with cerebral palsy. Our hip preservation program is one of the largest in the nation with three surgeons and with more than 50 years of combined experience. Our limb-deformity clinic is growing, and we were one of the first pediatric institutions to use internal, motorized devices to lengthen bones.

In my research, I’m looking at quality improvement and safety with a focus on improving the care of children with cerebral palsy. I’m especially interested in functional improvement, minimally invasive and innovative new techniques, and standardization of care.

I have published over 150 journal articles, including chapters in many major textbooks about orthopaedics. I’ve presented more than 300 research presentations. I’m honored to have been voted Best Doctor by my subspecialty peers for over 15 years in a row, and I am the past president of the Pediatric Orthopaedics Society of North America (POSNA) and the Limb Lengthening and Reconstruction Society (LLRS).

When I’m not working, I love spending time with my family, especially hiking and biking. I also love to read and write, and I recently published “Letters to My Daughters,” a personal publication.

MD: The University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC, 1991.

Residency: The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH, 1996.

Fellowship: The Children's Hospital, Denver, CO, 1997.

Certification: Board Certified, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

MHCM: Harvard School of Public Health.


Cerebral Palsy including motion analysis and scoliosis; limb deformity correction; hip disorders including hip preservation

Services and Specialties

Hemangioma and Vascular Malformations, Neuromuscular Disorders, Hip Preservation, Limb Lengthening and Reconstruction, Orthopaedic Surgery


The treatment of children with Cerebral Palsy and limb deformity correction

Research Areas


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Pediatric Lateral Humeral Condyle Fractures: Reliability of a Modified Jakob Classification System and its Impact on Treatment Planning With or Without Arthrography. Miller, JS; Weishuhn, L; Goodrich, E; Patel, J; McCarthy, JJ; Mehlman, CT. Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics. 2023; 43:505-510.

Utilizing two surgeons for neuromuscular scoliosis suggests improved operative efficiency. Menapace, B; McCarthy, J; Schultz, L; Leitsinger, N; Jain, V; Sturm, P. Spine Deformity. 2023; 11:985-992.

Anterior distal femoral hemiepiphysiodesis in children with cerebral palsy: Establishing surgical indications and techniques using the modified Delphi method and literature review. Shore, BJ; McCarthy, J; Shrader, MW; Graham, K; Veerkamp, KM; Rutz, E; Chambers, H; Davids, JR; Narayanan, U; Novacheck, TF; Shilt, J; Theologis, T; Van Campenhout, A; Kay, RM. Journal of Children's Orthopaedics. 2023; 17:292-294.

Inpatient Physical Therapy After Orthopedic Lower Extremity Surgery in Children With Cerebral Palsy. Bailes, AF; Mangeot, C; Murphy, NJ; Richardson, Z; McCarthy, J; McManus, BM. Pediatric Physical Therapy. 2023; 35:57-64.

Distal femoral extension osteotomy and patellar tendon advancement or shortening in ambulatory children with cerebral palsy: A modified Delphi consensus study and literature review. Rutz, E; Novacheck, TF; Dreher, T; Davids, JR; McCarthy, J; Kay, RM; Shore, BJ; Shrader, MW; Veerkamp, M; Chambers, H; Shilt, J; Theologis, T; Van Campenhout, A; Graham, K. Journal of Children's Orthopaedics. 2022; 16:442-453.

Can Over-containment Prevent Recurrence in Children With Cerebral Palsy and Hip Dysplasia Undergoing Hip Reconstruction?. Zakrzewski, AM; Bryant, AJ; McCarthy, JJ. Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics. 2022; 42:300-306.

Proximal Femoral Screw Hemiepiphysiodesis in Children With Cerebral Palsy Improves the Radiographic Measures of Hip Subluxation. Zakrzewski, AM; Carl, JR; McCarthy, JJ. Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics. 2022; 42:e583-e589.

Problem Partners: How to Deal With a Colleague Who Causes Problems. McCarthy, J; von Allmen, D; Liston, N. Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics. 2022; 42:S50-S52.

To the editor. Escobar, MA; Rosen, NG; Martin, MJ. Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery. 2022; 92:e108-e110.

The corona mortis: is it a rare and dangerous anomaly in adolescents undergoing periacteabular osteotomy?. Hu, AW; McCarthy, JJ; Breitenstein, R; Uchtman, M; Emery, KH; Whitlock, PW. Journal of Hip Preservation Surgery. 2022; 8:354-359.

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