A photo of James J. McCarthy.

Director, Division of Pediatric Orthopaedics

Co-Director, Limb Lengthening and Reconstruction Center

Alvin Crawford Chair in Pediatric Orthopaedics

Professor, UC Department of Orthopedic Surgery



Board Certified

Best Doctors logo

My Biography & Research


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.

Clinical Interests

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

Academic Affiliation

Professor, UC Department of Orthopedic Surgery


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

Science Blog

Carson’s Story: A Leg Up


Carson’s Story: A Leg Up

James J. McCarthy, MD, MHCM12/10/2019

My Locations

My Education

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.

My Publications

The Lower Extremity. Jain, V; McCarthy, J; Iobst, C. In: Weinstein S; Flynn J; Crawford H, Ed. Lovell and Winter's Pediatric Orthopaedics. Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer; 2020.

Establishing surgical indications for hamstring lengthening and femoral derotational osteotomy in ambulatory children with cerebral palsy. McCarthy, J; Shrader, MW; Graham, K; Veerkamp, M; Brower, L; Chambers, H; Davids, JR; Kay, RM; Narayanan, U; Novacheck, TF; et al. Journal of Children's Orthopaedics. 2020; 14:50-57.

A Dedicated Fracture Reduction Room: A Cost-Effective Alternative to the Operating Room. Whitlock, PW; Little, KJ; Singleton, SS; Mahmoud, M; Ngamprasertwong, P; McCarthy, JJ. Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. 2019; 27:e887-e892.

Pelvic and Acetabular Fractures. Sankar, WN; McCarthy, J; Herman, MJ. In: Waters PM; Skaggs DL; Flynn JM, Ed. Rockwood and Wilkins Fractures in Children. Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer; 2019.

Infantile Supracondylar Humeral Fractures (Patients Less Than Two Years of Age) Twice as Common in Females and a High Rate of Malunion with Lateral Column-Only Fixation. Mehlman, CT; Denning, JR; McCarthy, JJ; Fisher, ML. The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. 2019; 101:25-34.

The Use of triphasic bone graft for the treatment of pediatric bone cysts: Experience at 2 institutions. Zhang, T; Price, CT; McCarthy, JJ; Nguyen, J; Noonan, KJ. Orthopedics. 2018; 41:E705-E712.

Proximal Femoral Growth Modification: Effect of Screw, Plate, and Drill on Asymmetric Growth of the Hip. d'Heurle, A; McCarthy, J; Klimaski, D; Stringer, K. Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics. 2018; 38:100-104.

Radiographic and Respiratory Effects of Growing Rods in Children with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Lenhart, RL; Youlo, S; Schroth, MK; Noonan, KJ; McCarthy, J; Mann, D; Hetzel, S; Sund, SA; Halanski, MA. Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics. 2017; 37:e500-e504.

Complication Rates after Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP) Use in Orthopaedic Surgery in Children: A Concise Multicenter Retrospective Cohort Study. Garg, S; McCarthy, JJ; Goodwin, R; Kolmodin, J; Sankar, WN; Franklin, C; Armstrong, D; Fryzel, D; Hassenbein, S; Meder, C. Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics. 2017; 37:e375-e378.

Quality, Safety, and Value in Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery. Glotzbecker, MP; Wang, K; Waters, PM; McCarthy, J; Flynn, JM; Vitale, MG. Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics. 2016; 36:549-557.