John C. Elfar, M.D.

John C. Elfar, M.D.

Contact Information

University of Rochester Medical Center
School of Medicine and Dentistry
601 Elmwood Ave, Box 665
Rochester, NY 14642

Administrative: (585) 273-3157
Fax: (585) 276-1134
Office: (585) 273-3157

Lab Information

The Center for Musculoskeletal Research houses nearly 70 MD and PhD researchers and graduate and post-doctoral students. This team has been the top orthopaedics lab in the United States since 2006.

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Professional Bio

Professional Education
• University of Rochester, Orthopaedic Surgery Residency
• Harvard Medical School (1996- 2002) - MD
• The Johns Hopkins University (1992-6)
o Bachelor's Degree with Honors in Biomedical Engineering
o Bachelor's Degree with Honors in Electrical and Computer Engineering
Fellowship Training
• Mary S. Stern Fellow in Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery Cincinnati Hand Surgery Specialists - Director: Peter J. Stern.

AO/ASIF Advanced Trauma Fellowship AO International Boston, MA Preceptor: Jesse B. Jupiter
Professional Board Certification
• American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery
• Certificate of Added Qualification - Sports
• Certificate of Added Qualification - Hand
• Fellow of American College of Surgery
Special Awards and Honors
• Young Fellows Association Governing Council; American College of Surgeons (2015-18)
• American Orthopaedic Association North American Traveling Fellowship (2011)
• ASSH Hand Surgeon Scientist Award - 5 Year Support; American Society and Foundation for Surgery of the Hand (2013-18)
• Julian Bruner Award; American Society for Surgery of the Hand (2009)
• Young Leader; American Society for Surgery of the Hand (2008)
• Emerging Leader - American Orthopaedic Association (2008-13)
• Kenneth E DeHaven Award for Outstanding Orthopaedic Research; University of Rochester (2007)
• Resident Leader Program; American Orthopaedic Association (2007)
• Clinician Scientist Training Program; American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (2007)
• Efforts in Diversity Award; Harvard Medical School (2002)
• National Research Service Award; National Institutes of Health (2000)
• Traveling Fellow; Society for Neuroscience (1999-2000)
• Richard Allen Williams Fellowship (1998)
• Research Fellow; DuPont Merck and Harvard Medical School (1998)
• Medical Scientist Training Program Award (1996-9)
• Academic All American; USA TODAY (1996)
• OMSA Academic Honor Award; John Hopkins University (1996)
• National Torchbearer Award; NSBE (1995-6)
• Faculty for the Future Fellowship; General Electric Foundation (1995)
• Howard Hughes Undergraduate Fellowship (declined) (1995)
• The John Hopkins University Biomedical Engineering Research Award (1995)
• Whitaker Foundation Undergraduate Fellowship (1995)
• Baylor College of Medicine Premedical Academy MMEP (1995)
Leadership Positions:
• Director, Orthopaedic Hand & Upper Extremity Fellowship Program
• Director, University of Rochester Center for Orthopaedic Population Studies (COPS)
• Co-Director, University of Rochester and Rochester Institute of Technology Orthopaedic Biomechanics Co-Laboratory
Professional Memberships
• American College of Surgeons, YFA Governing Council
• OMeGA Review Board (formerly)
• AOA Emerging Leaders Program (formerly)
National Group Committees: (only past commitments are dated)
• ACS YFA Governing Council (2015-2018)
• ACS AAOS Advisory Council (2016-2019)
• AAOS Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery Program Chair (2016-Present)
• AAOS/OREF/ORS Clinician Scholar Career Development Committee (2014)
• American Society for Surgery of the Hand; Website Committee
• American Society for Surgery of the Hand; Publications Committee
• American Society for Surgery of the Hand; Self Assessment Exam Committee (2009-14)
• Orthopaedic Medical Grants Association (2009-12)
• American Society for Surgery of the Hand - Clinical Trials and Outcomes Committee (2008-13)
Editorial Work (only past commitments are dated)
• Journal of Geriatric Orthopaedics; Review Editor
• Journal of Hand Surgery American; Reviewer
• Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery; Reviewer (2008-15)
• Yearbook of Hand and Upper Limb Surgery;Reviewer

Research Bio

My laboratory is a group of approximately six to ten people people working in three distinct areas: Pharmaco-aduvant therapy for orthopaedic neurotrauma; trauma outcomes assessment, and biomechanical assessments of cartilage relaxation. We are currently engaged in multiple research projects in the clinical, translational, and basic science realms. We have an approach that allows multiple teams to approach distinct projects in neuroregeneration, large-scale population studies of orthopaedic outcomes and basic biomechanics.

Our neuro-scientific research is centered on the effect of erythropoietin (EPO) and 4-aminopyridine (4AP) on regenerating peripheral nerve function after severe peripheral nerve trauma. Our work is motivated by the potent effect which EPO and 4AP have on injured nerves. These effects include the promotion of myelin production, a holy-grail in peripheral nerve injury science. We have found potent and lasting effects on the structure of the nerve at the sites of injury, which are coupled with demonstrable changes in limb function. So far, we have demonstrated that a potentially large group of agents, already approved for use in humans by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), may hold the potential to accellerate recovery after neurotrauma. In the case of several of these agents, translation to the clinic is currently underway using Investigational New Drug approval which we have been granted from the FDA. If successful, these agents will offer some of the only treatments for peripheral neurotrauma available. Our efforts are therefore directed on further study on mechanistic detail of neuroregenerative, myeloprotective, and functionally supportive treatments while at the same time conducting first-ever clinical trials on these same agents in humans.

In parallel with our translational work, my group has grown to include several members of the surgical community interested in examining surgical and trauma outcomes. We have focussed on approaches that combine large-scale big-data with small scale local chart-based validation. Thus far, we have been able to contribute studies on orthopaedic trauma outcomes centered on the quintessential hip-fracture. What grew out of a team diversion has become a full-fledged Center for Orthopedic Population Studies (COPS), which has used large database programming to produce several critical manuscripts documenting key elements underpinning cost, length of stay, and mortality after trauma.

Finally, we have delved into preliminary work on biomechanics analysis of joint reaction force measurements using the novel method of cartilage relaxation (technique, CRT). We have shown that measurements of the minute forces required to relax small and even large cartilage surfaces in joints can be measured, even in the absence of disruptive interposition of sensors. The dissection of stabilizing soft tissue to interpose such sensors alters the same forces which are to be measured. Using principles from the science of non-destructive evaluation derived from engineering methods, we have endeavored to accurately measure these minute forces without destructive interposition of sensor material - a key limitation of current methods. Thus far, this program has produced several significant contributions that center on measurements in small joints, where the dissection to interpose tissue would naturally yield spurious results.

Each of these programs has been built through collaboration with co-investigators and has garnered significant extramural funding. Each also represents a collaboration where, my role has been founding and also fostering a group which shares ownership and responsibility for funding applications, publications, successes and failures. The process of beginning and supporting independent, programmatically funded research programs is the primary interest which has fueled my work.

Awards & Honors (National)

ASSH Hand Surgeon Scientist Award - NIH K Award 5 Year Support | American Society for Surgery of the Hand AFSH/PSF 2013 - 2018
American Orthopaedic Association North American Traveling Fellowship | American Orthopaedic Association 2011
25 Sports Medicine Physicians Honored-American Orthopaedic Society / North American Traveling Fellowship 2011 - 2011
Emerging Leader - American Orthopaedic Association | American Orthopaedic Association 2008 - Present
Young Leader - American Society for Surgery of the Hand | American Society for Surgery of the Hand 2008 - Present
Resident Leader Program (Zimmer- American Orthopaedic Association) | American Orthopaedic Association 2007

Awards & Honors (Local)

Julian Bruner Award American Society for Surgery of the Hand | American Society for Surgery of the Hand 2009
Kenneth E DeHaven Award for Outstanding Orthopaedic Research | Plato Schwartz Lectureship-Dept of Orthopaedic Surgery | University of Rochester Medical Center 2007
Clinician Scientist Training Program | American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 2007
Efforts in Diversity Award | Harvard Medical School 2002
National Research Service Award | NIH 2000
Traveling Fellowship | Society for Neuroscience 1999 - 2000
Richard Allen Williams Fellowship | American Board of Cardiology 1998
Research Fellowship | DuPont Merck Harvard Medical School 1998
Academic All American | USA TODAY 1996
Medical Scientist Training Program Award Recipient 1996 - 1999
Faculty for the Future Fellowship | General Electric Foundation 1995 - 1996
Howard Hughes Undergraduate Fellowship (declined) 1995
The John Hopkins University Biomedical Engineering Research Award 1995
National Torchbearer Award | NSBE 1995 - 1996
Whitaker Foundation Undergraduate Fellowship 1995
Baylor College of Medicine/Rice University Premedical Academy | MMEP 1995
OMSA Academic Honor Award | John Hopkins University 1992 - 1996

Recent Journal Articles

Showing the 5 most recent journal articles. 73 available »

2016 Nov
Maceroli M, Nikkel LE, Mahmood B, Ketz JP, Qiu X, Ciminelli J, Messing S, Elfar JC. "Total Hip Arthroplasty for Femoral Neck Fractures: Improved Outcomes With Higher Hospital Volumes." Journal of orthopaedic trauma. 2016 Nov; 30(11):597-604.
2016 Oct
Sundem L, Chris Tseng KC, Li H, Ketz J, Noble M, Elfar J. "Erythropoietin Enhanced Recovery After Traumatic Nerve Injury: Myelination and Localized Effects." The Journal of hand surgery. 2016 Oct; 41(10):999-1010. Epub 2016 Sep 01.
2016 Aug 8
Zingman A, Li H, Sundem L, DeHority B, Geary M, Fussel T, Mooney R, Zuscik M, Elfar J. "Shoulder arthritis secondary to rotator cuff tear: A reproducible murine model and histopathologic scoring system." Journal of orthopaedic research : official publication of the Orthopaedic Research Society. 2016 Aug 8; Epub 2016 Aug 08.
2016 Jun
Speach DP, Elfar JC. "Reply." Muscle & nerve. 2016 Jun; 53(6):998-9. Epub 2016 Apr 27.
2016 Jun
Ikpeze TC, Elfar JC. "The Geriatric Driver: Factors That Influence When to Stop Driving." Geriatric orthopaedic surgery & rehabilitation. 2016 Jun; 7(2):106-9. Epub 2016 Apr 24.

Current Appointments

Associate Professor - Department of Orthopaedics (SMD) - Primary


Surgery of the Hand - American Board of Surgery
Sports Medicine - American Board of Orthopedic Surgery
Orthopaedic Surgery - American Board of Surgery


MD | Harvard Medical School2002
Bachelor's Degree | Biomedical Engineering | Johns Hopkins University1996
Bachelor's Degree | Electrical and Computer Engineering | Johns Hopkins University1996

Post-Doctoral Training & Residency

Fellowship in Hand Surgery at Cincinnati Children's Hospital07/01/2007 - 07/31/2008
Fellowship in Orthopaedics at Massachusetts General Hospital10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006
Residency in Orthopaedic Surgery at University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry06/26/2003 - 06/25/2007
Internship in General Surgery at University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry06/25/2002 - 06/30/2003