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Richard Irving Burton, M.D.

Contact Information

Phone Numbers

Administrative: (585) 275-2747

Office: (585) 275-2747

Faculty Appointments


Dr. Burton is an orthopaedic surgeon with special expertise in surgery of the hand and wrist. He led the team of orthopedists that developed a breakthrough surgery for patients with a common type of arthritis of the thumb. Known internationally as the "Burton procedure," the technique is now the gold standard therapy for this condition and is taught to orthopaedic surgeons throughout the nation. Dr. Burton has performed the procedure on many well-known people.

Dr. Burton earned his medical degree at Harvard Medical School and then completed two years of general surgical training at Strong Memorial Hospital. He served two years in the United States Air Force assigned to the Strategic Air Command. Then, after an Honorable Discharge, he received his orthopaedic residency at Massachusetts General, Peter Bent Brigham, and Boston Children's Hospitals. He also completed a fellowship in hand surgery at The Roosevelt Hospital with J. William Littler, MD, and Richard G. Eaton, MD.

Throughout his career, Dr. Burton has authored more than 80 medical textbook chapters and journal articles on topics such as orthopaedic problems of the hand and wrist and surgical techniques to treat them. Dr. Burton is listed in Who's Who in America, in The World, and in Education; he has given many invited lectureships and visiting professorships, including those at Brown's RI Hospital, The Ochsner clinic, Washington University, The Curtis Hand Center, The Mayo Clinic, The Hand Center of San Antonio, The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, The University of Washington, and The Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre of Oxford University in England.

For several years as Director of The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, he was responsible for overseeing the certification of hand surgeons in orthopaedic, plastic, and general surgery specialties across America.

In 1992-93, Dr. Burton served as President of The American Society for Surgery of the Hand.

Dr. Burton was department chair and Wehle Professor of Orthopaedics from 1988 until 2000. During that period with his leadership, patient care services expanded as URMC Orthopaedics became the Rochester, NY region's largest provider of Orthopaedic care, the residency educational programs greatly improved and expanded, and the department emerged as one of the nation's best-funded Orthopaedic departments for research.

Since 2002, Dr. Burton has served as Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.



  • Orthopaedic Surgery


BA | Amherst College
Embryology, Developmental Anatomy

MD | Harvard Medical School

Post-doctoral Training & Residency

09/01/1970 - 06/30/1971
Fellowship at Mount Sinai Roosevelt-

09/01/1966 - 06/30/1970
Residency in Orthopaedics at Brigham & Womens Hospital

01/01/1963 - 06/30/1964
Residency in Surgery (General Surgery) at University of Rochester Medical Center

07/01/1962 - 12/31/1962
Internship in Surgery (General Surgery) at University of Rochester Medical Center

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2001 - Present
Who's Who in Finance and Industry

2001 - Present
Who's Who in the East

1996 - Present
Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare

1993 - Present
Who's Who in Science and Engineering

1993 - Present
Who's Who in Education

1992 - Present
Best Doctors in America

1991 - Present
Who's Who in the World

1990 - Present
Who's Who in America

Executive of the Year

1980 - 1981
Henry C. and Bertha Buswell Distinguished Service Fellow University of Rochester

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Journal Articles

Burton RI, Campolattaro RM, Ronchetti PJ. "Volar plate arthroplasty for osteoarthritis of the proximal interphalangeal joint: a preliminary report." The Journal of hand surgery.. 2002 Nov; 27(6):1065-72.

Levine BP, Jones JA, Burton RI. "Nerve entrapments of the upper extremity: A surgical perspective." Neurologic clinics.. 1999 Aug; 17(3):549-65, vii.

Tomaino,M. M.; Pellegrini,V. D.,Jr; Burton,R. I. "Arthroplasty of the basal joint of the thumb. Long-term follow-up after ligament reconstruction with tendon interposition" . Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. American volume. 1995; 77(3): 346,355.

Books & Chapters

Chapter Title: Tendon Transfers
Book Title: Hand and Wrist Surgery Secrets
Author List: Melchior, J.A. and Burton, R.I.
Edited By: Weinzweig
Published By: Hanley and Belfus 1999

Chapter Title: Resection/Suspension Arthroplasty of the Basal Joint of the Thumb for Osteoarthritis
Book Title: Master Techniques In Orthopaedic Surgery, The Hand
Author List: Burton, R.I.
Edited By: Strickland, James W.
Published By: Lippincott-Raven 1997

Chapter Title: Afflictions of the Wrist and Hand
Book Title: Mercer's Orthopaedic Surgery
Author List: Burton, R.I., Cillen, J.P. and Doerschuk, S.H.
Edited By: Duthie, R.B. and Bentley, G.
Published By: Arnold Publishers 1996