Choosing a shoulder surgeon is an incredibly important decision. The surgeon you choose holds the future health and functioning of your shoulder in their hands. Surgery takes physical and mental dexterity, and you want someone with mastery of both. We’ve compiled a list of the best shoulder surgeons under 50, because these surgeons are known for their expertise in their specialty, and yet still work to improve both themselves and their field.
Our Top Pick for the West Coast:
Patrick Denard, M.D.
Dr. Denard is an orthopedic shoulder surgeon at the Oregon Shoulder Institute. He is recognized as one of the top shoulder surgeons in the United States. Dr. Denard specializes in management of arthroscopic shoulder conditions and has developed and uses advanced techniques that permit him to repair tears that others deem to be irreparable. Dr. Denard also performs anatomic and reverse shoulder replacement surgeries for shoulder arthritis. Dr. Denard has performed over 7000 shoulder surgeries in his career, and almost 90% of his patients go home same day, giving him one of the lowest stay rates in the country.
Dr. Denard received his undergraduate degree from University of Puget Sound. He went on to complete his medical degree at Dartmouth Medical School, and then completed his residency at Oregon Health & Science University. Next, he completed his first fellowship in advanced shoulder arthroscopy at the San Antonio Orthopaedic Group. Finally, he completed a second fellowship in Shoulder Reconstruction under Gilles Walch at the Centre Orthopedique Santy in Lyon, France.
Dr. Denard is a member of the American Shoulder and Elbow Society, among other organizations. He has over 200 peer-reviewed publications, ranking in the top 20 in both rotator cuff and shoulder replacements over the past 10 years. He is also the co-author of two textbooks on shoulder surgery. In addition, Dr. Denard is an instructor at Oregon Health and Science University and a Clinical Associate Professor with Washington State University Department of Medical Education and Clinical Studies.
Our Top Pick for the South & East Coast:
Kevin Kruse, M.D.
Kevin Kruse is an Orthopedic Surgeon at Texas Orthopedic Associates in Dallas, Texas. He is a shoulder specialist with extensive experience in his field. Dr. Kruse is an exceptional surgeon, and part of that comes from understanding what it’s like to be a patient needing orthopedic surgery as well as being the surgeon. Having both perspectives allows him to treat his patients with a level of care that is extraordinary.
Dr. Kruse received his undergraduate and medical degrees from Indiana University, where he played football. He was the linebacker for the Hoosiers and even made the academic All Big Ten Team. During his time on the football team, he was injured numerous times, and required six orthopedic surgeries, including two shoulder surgeries and various elbow and knee surgeries.
After receiving his medical degree, he completed his residency at Greenville Health System University Medical Center in South Carolina and trained in Greenville’s Steadman Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas. Next, he completed a fellowship in the subspecialty of the hand and upper extremities at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. From there, he completed a second fellowship in Lyon, France, under the world renowned shoulder surgeon Gilles Walch at the Centre Orthopedique Santy.
Dr. Kruse has written a myriad of publications on the topic of hand and shoulder surgery and presents regularly on the national level at medical seminars. He is one of only two doctors in Texas with memberships in both of the prestigious American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons and American Society for Surgery of the Hand.
Dr. Kruse has a commitment to excellence, and he believes part of that is transparency with his patients. He has been tracking his outcomes for several years, before it was common practice to do so. Dr. Kruse has superior outcomes to his colleagues, with his patients reporting better functioning and less pain as compared to others. Dr. Kruse performs an average of over 200 rotator cuff repairs per year, and an average of 150 shoulder arthroplasties per year. Dr. Kruse’s infection rate is less than 1%, as well. Additionally, Dr. Kruse has a Youtube channel and blog, where he details all different aspects of shoulder surgery so his patients can feel secure throughout the whole process.
Runner Ups - Best Shoulder Surgeons in the US Under 50:
Jonathon Levy , M.D.
Dr. Levy is an orthopedic shoulder surgeon in Fort Lauderdale, Florida at the Holy Cross Orthopedic Institute. He has been Chief of Orthopedics since 2010. Dr. Levy specializes in shoulder and elbow disorders and uses state of the art surgical techniques and the latest technologies to perform his surgeries on the shoulder and elbow. Dr. Levy completes almost 400 shoulder replacements per year and over 150 rotator cuff repairs per year. He is the highest volume shoulder replacement surgeon in the United States.
Dr. Levy completed his undergraduate and medical degrees at Northwestern University. He then went on to complete his residency training at Jackson Memorial Hospital at the University of Miami. Following his residency, he completed his shoulder and elbow fellowship with Mark Frankle in Tampa, Florida. Additionally, he was a visiting clinician at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
Dr. Levy is a Member of the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons. He has authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications on various topics in shoulder and elbow disorders, and is a national and international speaker on these disorders as well.
Derek Cuff, M.D.
Dr. Cuff is an Orthopedic Surgeon at Suncoast Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine and has a subspecialty in shoulder and elbow surgery. Dr. Cuff specializes in performing minimally invasive arthroscopic procedures and complex shoulder and elbow reconstructions. Dr. Cuff performs several hundred of these procedures annually.
Dr. Cuff received his undergraduate degree from Washington College and his medical degree from University of Maryland School of Medicine. He then went on to complete his residency in Baltimore, Maryland, and the University of Maryland Medical System. He also completed a portion of his training at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Lastly, he completed his fellowship training in the subspecialty of shoulder and elbow surgery in Tampa, Florida, at the Florida Orthopedic Institute.
Dr. Cuff is a member of the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeries and has authored numerous publications on the topic of shoulder surgery. He has also given many presentations, both nationally and internationally.
Ben Szerlip, M.D.
Dr. Szerlip is an orthopedic surgeon at OrthoNeuro in Dublin, Ohio. He specializes in all aspects of the shoulder. Dr. Szerlip received his undergraduate degree from the College of Wooster and went to medical school at Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine. He also did additional training in clinical research at the National Institute of Health. After medical school, Dr. Szerlip went on to complete his Orthopedic Surgery residency at University Hospitals of Cleveland. Finally, he completed a nationally renowned fellowship in shoulder and elbow surgery with the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston.
While in Texas, Dr. Szerlip co-founded the Austin Shoulder Institute and practiced there for 5 years. In addition to being a surgeon, he serves as an instructor to educate surgeons on advanced principles of shoulder replacement. Dr. Szerlip has authored multiple research publications and gives national presentations about shoulder replacement technique and design.
Michael Bercik, Jr. M.D.
Dr. Bercik is an orthopedic shoulder surgeon at Lancaster Orthopedic Group in Pennsylvania. He specializes in orthopedic trauma and fracture care. Dr. Bercik completed his undergraduate degree at Georgetown University and his medical degree at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. Next, he completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at the Rothman Institute in Philadelphia. After his residency, he completed a fellowship in trauma and reconstructive surgery at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and then completed two international fellowships with focuses on ailments of the shoulder and elbow: one in Lyon, France, under Gilles Walch, and one in Melbourne, Australia with Professor Simon Bell at the Melbourned shoulder and Elbow Centre and Monash University. Dr. Bercik has also published several peer-reviewed journals and book chapters.
Surena Namdari, M.D.
Dr. Namdari is an orthopedic surgeon at Rothman Orthopaedic Specialty Hospital in Pennsylvania. He is also the Fellowship Director and Co-Director of Research for the Shoulder and Elbow Division of Rothman Orthopaedic Institute. Additionally, he is the Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Thomas Jefferson University. Dr. Namdari specializes in arthroscopic and open treatment of all conditions of the shoulder and elbow.
Dr. Namdari obtained his undergraduate degree and graduate degree from Brown University, and then went on to attend Brown Medical School. He completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at University of Pennsylvania. Following his residency, he completed his fellowship in shoulder and elbow surgery at Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Namdari is a member of the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. He has written an extensive collection of original papers and abstracts and presents nationally and internationally on the shoulder and elbow.
Justin Griffin, M.D.
Dr. Griffin is an orthopedic surgeon at the Jordan Young Institute in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He specializes in advanced arthroscopic reconstructive techniques, total shoulder replacement, and pediatric sports medicine. He is also a reviewer for Arthroscopy Journal and Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery. Additionally, he is an Assistant Professor at the Eastern Virginia Medical School for teaching and research. Dr. Griffin is a high volume shoulder replacement specialist and performs in the top 1% by volume.
Dr. Griffin completed his undergraduate degree at James Madison University. After that, he went on to get his medical degree from Loyola University in Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine. After medical school, Dr. Griffin completed a residency in orthopedic surgery at the University of Virginia. Next, he went on to complete a fellowship at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago studying shoulder surgery, knee and sports medicine. During his time in Chicago, he was also teaching various courses on Shoulder and knee arthroplasty. After his fellowship, he spent time at the Mayo Clinic where he studied advanced shoulder and elbow medicine.
Dr. Griffin is a widely published shoulder surgeon and is actively involved in research to further develop techniques and strategies. Dr. Griffin is also an active clinical investigator in specialized areas including stem cells and rotator cuff repair. Previously, Dr. Griffin was the team physician for the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Bulls, as well as other teams. Dr. Griffin is also a member of the American Shoulder and Elbow Society, among other professional societies. starts here.