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David L. Helfet, MD

Trauma, Hip Preservation

About Dr. Helfet


Dr. David L. Helfet is annually ranked as one of New York Magazine's "Best Doctors in New York" and Castle-Connolly's "America's Top Doctors." Dr. Helfet is currently Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College and Director Emeritus of the Orthopedic Trauma Service at both Hospital for Special Surgery and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Additionally, Dr. Helfet is designated as the Orthopedic Trauma specialist for the Fire Department of New York (FDNY), the New York Police Department (NYPD), and New York State Police and provides advanced orthopedic care to members who are injured in the line of duty.

Dr. Helfet has published extensively on orthopedic trauma topics including numerous articles and book chapters. He frequently presents at both national and international conferences on treatment of orthopedic trauma. He has received such visiting lectureships as the Presidential Guest and Watson-Jones Memorial Lecture of the British Orthopaedic Association, and has been the recipient of many honors and awards including the Philip D. Wilson Jr. Teaching Award.

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Specialized Centers

Computer Assisted Surgery Center

Special Expertise

Minimally invasive fracture surgery
Fractures and dislocations of both the upper and lower extremities (shoulder, upper arm, elbow, forearm, hip, upper leg, knee, lower leg, ankle, etc.)
Fractures of the pelvis and acetabulum
Complex fractures with angular deformities and/or bone defects
Poly-trauma patients with orthopaedic injuries
Fractures in adolescents, adults and the elderly populations
Periprosthetic fractures
Insufficiency fractures
Complex cases requiring correction of deformity or limb lengthening
Corrective osteotomies (long bones and pelvic osteotomies)
Unhealed fractures including non-unions
Hip dysplasia
Chronic post-partum pelvic pain and/or instability

Patient Stories


Patient ratings for Dr. Helfet


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Please call our office if you have questions regarding your insurance coverage. If you have out of network benefits, then your insurance may reimburse you for a portion of your office visit. We will work with you and your insurance to minimize your out-of-pocket costs. Financial assistance may be available for patients in need.



Attending Orthopedic Surgeon, Hospital for Special Surgery
Chief Emeritus, Combined Orthopedic Trauma, Hospital for Special Surgery
Professor of Surgery (Orthopedics), Weill Cornell Medical College
Attending Orthopedic Surgeon, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital


American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, 1984


Orthopedics Blue Ribbon Article Award for outstanding contribution to the orthopedic literature, 2019
HSS Lifetime Achievement Award, 2015
Castle Connolly America's Top Doctors, 2002-2020
Castle Connolly Top Doctors in New York Metro Area, 2002-2022
New York Magazine Top Doctors, 2002-2018, 2022
Presidential Guest, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Unfallchirurgie (German Orthopaedic Trauma Association), 2000
Presidential Guest, Israel Orthopaedic Association, 1995
Philip D. Wilson Jr. Teaching Award (Voted by the Residents), Hospital for Special Surgery, 1995
Watson-Jones Memorial Lecture, British Orthopaedic Association, 1994
Presidential Guest, British Orthopaedic Association, 1994
Edward Bovill Award/ Best Paper, Orthopaedic Trauma Association, 1994
Selected Highlight Paper, Orthopaedic Trauma Association, 1990
Best Overall Paper, Florida Orthopaedic Society, 1990
Best Resident Paper, Florida Orthopaedic Society, 1990
Best Paper Award, Eastern Orthopaedic Association, 1990
Edward Bovill Award/ Best Paper, Orthopaedic Trauma Association, 1989
Best Paper Award, Eastern Orthopaedic Association, 1989
"Outstanding Professor Award" Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of South Florida., 1987-1988


MD, University of Cape Town Medical School, Cape Town, South Africa, 1975


Johns Hopkins University, Assistant Resident in General Surgery, Baltimore, Maryland, 1977-78
Johns Hopkins University, Assistant Resident in Orthopaedic Surgery, 1978-80
Johns Hopkins University, Chief Resident in Orthopaedic Surgery, 1980-81


University of Bern, Insel Hospital, Trauma-Arthroplasty Professor M.E. Muller, Bern, Switzerland, 1981
University of California, Los Angeles, Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Fellowship Professor G. Finerman, 1981-82

State Licensure



Publications by Dr. Helfet

Patient Education

Professional Education

Selected Books/Chapters


Helfet DL, Co-Editor: Fractures of the Pelvis and Acetabulum. Co-edited by Tile M, Kellam J, Lippincott, William & Wilkins, 3rd dition, May 2003.

Helfet DL, Co-Author: AO Manual of Fracture Management: Internal Fixators. AO Publishing, Thieme, 2006.

Krettek C, Helfet DL: Fractures of the Distal Femur in Skeletal Trauma. Co-Edited by Browner BD, Jupiter JB, Levine AM, Trafton PG, 3rd Edition, Saunders, 2003 pp. 1957-2011.

Toro JB, Helfet DL: Surgical Treatment of Tibial Nonunions. In: Tornetta P III (ed). Techniques in Fracture Surgery. W.B. Saunders, 2005. publication pending

Selected Journal Articles

Gadinsky NE, Klinger CE, Sculco PK, Helfet DL, Lorich DG, Lionel LE: Femoral Head Vascularity: Implications Following Trauma and Surgery About the Hip, Orthopedics, September/October 2019. This article received the Orthopedics Blue Ribbon Article Award.

Boraiah S, Dyke JP, Hettrich C, Parker RJ, Miller A, Helfet D, Lorich D: Assessment of vascularity of the femoral head using gadolinium (Gd-DTPA)-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging: A cadaver study. J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2009 Jan;91(1):131-7.

Boraiah S, Gardner MJ, Helfet DL, Lorich DG: High association of posterior malleolus fractures with spiral distal tibial fractures. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2008 Jul;466(7):1692-8.

Borens O, Sen MK, Huang RC, Richmond J, Kloen P, Jupiter JB, Helfet DL: “Anterior Tension Band Plating for Anterior Tibial Stress Fractures in High-performance Female Athletes: A Report of 4 Cases”, J Orthop Trauma, 2006;20(6):425-430.

Carroll EA, Lorich DG, Helfet DL: Surgical management of a periprosthetic fracture between a total elbow and total shoulder prosthesis: A case report. J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2008 Dec 18.

Gardner MJ, Boraiah S, Helfet DL, Lorich DG: Indirect Medial Reduction and Strut Support of Proximal Humerus Fractures Using an Endosteal Implant. J Orthop Trauma. 2008 Mar;22(3):195-200.

Gardner MJ, Briggs SM, Kopjar B, Helfet DL, Lorich DG: “Radiographic outcomes of intertrochanteric hip fractures treated with the trochanteric fixation nail”, Injury 2007; 38: 1189-96.

Gardner MJ, Demetrakopoulos D, Briggs SM, Helfet DL, Lorich DG. “Malreduction of the tibiofibular syndesmosis in ankle fractures”. Foot Ankle Int 2006; 27(10):788-92.

Gardner MJ, Lorich DG, Werner CM, Helfet DL: Second-Generation Concepts for Locked Plating of Proximal Humerus Fractures. Am J Orthop. 2007 Sep;36(9):460-5.

Gardner MJ, Weil Y, Barker JU, Kelly BT, Helfet DL, Lorich DG: The Importance of Medial Support in Locked Plating of Proximal Humerus Fractures. J Orthop Trauma. 2007 Mar;21(3):185-91.

Grose A, Gardner MJ, Hettrich C, Fishman F, Lorich DG, Asprinio DE, Helfet DL: "Open reduction and internal fixation of tibial pilon fractures using a lateral approach", J Orthop Trauma 2007, September 21(8),530-7.

Issack PS, Kreshak J, Klinger CE, Toro JB, Buly RL, Helfet DL: Sciatic nerve release following fracture or reconstructive surgery of the acetabulum. Surgical technique. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2008 Oct;90 Suppl 2 Pt 2:227-37.

Issack PS, Toro JB, Buly RL, Helfet DL: “Sciatic Nerve Release Following Fracture or Reconstructive Surgery of the Acetabulum”, J of Bone and Joint Surgery, July 2007;89A(7):1432-1437.

Rapuano BE, Boursiquot R, Tomin E, Macdonald DE, Maddula S, Raghavan D, Lane JM, Helfet DL. The Effects of COX-1 and COX-2 Inhibitors on Prostaglandin Synthesis and the Formation of Heterotopic Bone in a Rat Model. 2008 Mar;128(3):333-44.

Toro-Arbelaez JB, Gardner MJ, Shindle MK, Cabas JM, Lorich DG, Helfet DL: Open Reduction and Internal Fixation of Intraarticular Tibial Plateau Nonunions. Injury. 2007 Mar;38(3):378-83.

Weil YA, Gardner MJ, Boraiah S, Helfet DL, Lorich DG: Anterior Knee Pain Following the Lateral Parapatellar Approach for Tibial Nailing. Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 2008 Jun 17.

Weil YA, Gardner MJ, Helfet DL, Pearle AD: “Computer Navigation Allows for Accurate Reduction of Femoral Fractures”, Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, 460:185-191, July 2007.

Weil YA, Gardner MJ, Mikhail G, Pierson G, Helfet DL, Lorich DG.: Medial Migration of Intramedullary Hip Fixation Devices: A Biomechanical Analysis. 2008 Feb;128(2):227-34.

Weil YA, Liebergall M, Mosheiff R, Helfet DL, Pearle AD: Long Bone Fracture Reduction Using a Fluoroscopy-Based Navigation System: A Feasibility and Accuracy Study. Comput Aided Surg. 2007 Sep;12(5):295-302.

Werner CML. Lorich DG, Gardner MJ, Helfet DL: “Ankle Fractures: It Is Not Just a “Simple” Ankle Fracture”, Am J Orthop  September 2007; XXXVI(9):466-469.

For more publications, please see the PubMed listing.

Selected Presentations

Dr. David Helfet presenting at OTA

Dr. Helfet was selected to give the John Border, MD Memorial Lecture at the 2022 Orthopaedic Trauma Association Annual Meeting held in Tampa, Florida. The presentation is entitled "We Stand on the Shoulders of Giants: Our Mentors, Our Teachers. A Presidential Address, Revisited”.


Orthopaedic Trauma Service (OTS) Research

The OTS is actively involved in many research areas related to orthopaedic trauma, including clinical outcomes research, laboratory and bench research, and biomechanical studies. Our research includes many emerging and exciting areas of importance in orthopaedic trauma, including bone healing pathways, cartilage injury and repair, fracture fixation methods, and vascularity studies. Our research initiatives are facilitated with state-of-the-art resources at Hospital for Special Surgery and are coordinated by Joseph M. Lane, MD, Director of OTS Research.

Clinical Trials

Industry Relationships

Industry Relationships

One of the goals of HSS is to advance the science of orthopedic surgery, rheumatology, and related disciplines for the benefit of patients. Physicians at HSS may collaborate with outside companies for education, research and medical advances. HSS supports this collaboration in order to foster medical breakthroughs; however HSS also believes that these collaborations must be disclosed.

As part of the disclosure process, this website lists physician collaborations with outside companies. The disclosures are provided by information provided by the physician and other sources and are updated regularly. Further information may be available on individual company websites.

Below are the healthcare industry relationships reported by Dr. Helfet as of July 09, 2021.

  • Armada Health Care, LLC - Medical Advisory Board 
  • AeroClean Pathogen Elimination Technologies (formerly CleanCo Biosciences) - Co-founder, Board of Directors
  • Fx Devices - Board of Directors
  • Healthpoint Capital, LP - Ownership Interest, Advisory Board, Board of Directors
  • HD Lifesciences, LLC- Ownership Interest
  • Johnson & Johnson - Honoraria
  • Mediphore, Inc.- Ownership Interest, Board of Directors
  • My Medical Images- Board of Directors;Ownership Interest
  • OHK Medical Devices, Inc. - Advisoty Board, Board of Directors
  • Progressive Sterilization, LLC- Board of Directors, Advisory Board
  • Steri SC International LLC, Board of Directors, Advisory Board
  • Tri-Medics, LLC - Board of Directors

By disclosing the collaborations of HSS physicians with industry on this website, HSS and its physicians make this information available to their patients and the public, thus creating a transparent environment for those who are interested in this information. Further, the HSS Conflicts of Interest Policy does not permit physicians to collect royalties on products developed by him/her that are used on patients at HSS.

Patients should feel free to ask their HSS physicians questions about these relationships.

Dr. Helfet in the News

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