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Robert V. O'Toole, MD

Hansjörg Wyss Medical Foundation Professor of Orthopaedic Trauma

Academic Title:


Primary Appointment:


Administrative Title:

Vice-Chair for Research, Department of Orthopaedics

Additional Title:

Chief of Orthopaedics, R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center; Head, Division of Orthopaedic Trauma, Department of Orthopaedics; Program Director, Orthopaedic Traumatology Fellowship Program; Director, Clinical Research, Department of Orthopaedics


R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center

Phone (Primary):




Education and Training

Carnegie Mellon University, BS in Mechanical Engineering

Stanford University, MS in Mechanical Engineering

Harvard Medical School, MD

Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Internship in General Surgery

Harvard Combined Orthopaedic Residency Program, Residency in Orthopaedic Surgery

University of Maryland Medical System, R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, Fellowship in Orthopaedic Trauma


Dr. Robert V. O'Toole is a Professor of Orthopaedics with tenure at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Division Head of Orthopaedic Traumatology and Chief of Orthopaedics at R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center. He has served as the Director of Clinical Research since 2005 and Program Director for a highly competitive orthopaedic trauma fellowship program, the Orthopaedic Traumatology Fellowship Program, since 2009. He is active in clinical care, research, and education pertaining to patients who sustain orthopaedic trauma.

Dr. O'Toole's clinical interests include fractures, high-energy trauma, pelvic and acetabular fractures, problem fractures including malunion and nonunion, and complications related to trauma including infection, posttraumatic arthritis, and compartment syndrome.

He is an active clinical researcher and currently serves as the principal investigator on research trials totaling more than $30 million in competitive funding. Much of his work is in collaboration with the United States Department of Defense-funded Major Extremity Trauma Research Consortium (METRC, He leads an active research group that is currently running 16 prospective clinical trials, has 10 full-time research staff, and strives to address clinical issues affecting patients through high-quality clinical trial design. The group is always interested in collaboration and welcomes contact from other researchers.

Dr. O'Toole has been part of the team responsible for continued growth in the Division of Orthopaedic Trauma over the last decade. Clinical volumes have increased substantially over the time period, and the group now boasts 10 faculty members, nine research coordinators, nine nurse practitioners, five fellows, eight programs that send residents to rotate with our Department, and a host of other staff who carry out the group's mission of clinical, educational, and research excellence. The Division is well positioned and aims to continue to play an important national role in orthopaedic trauma care in the coming years.

Research/Clinical Keywords

Fracture, orthopaedic trauma surgery, issues affecting orthopaedic trauma, techniques to reduce complications (particularly infection) of high-energy trauma, major extremity trauma, biomechanics, compartment syndrome, damage control orthopaedics, management of the mangled limb, pelvic fracture, acetabular fracture, biomechanics

Highlighted Publications

Dubina AG, Wickramaratne N, O'Toole RV, Manson TT. Assessment of trochanteric osteotomy fragment union after acetabular fracture surgery. Injury 2017;48(2)384–387. PubMed

Dubina AG, Paryavi E, Manson TT, Allmon C, O'Toole RV. Surgical site infection in tibial plateau fractures with ipsilateral compartment syndrome. Injury 2017;48(2):495–500. PubMed

Myers R, Kim H, Hsieh AH, O'Toole RV, Sciadini MF. When should we change drill bits? A mechanical comparison of new, reprocessed, and damaged bits. J Orthop Trauma 2017 [Epub ahead of print, February 1]. PubMed

Muscatelli S, Howe A, O'Hara NN, O'Toole RV, Sprague SA, Slobogean GP. Comparison of irrigation times using gravity and high-pressure lavage. Orthopedics 2017 [Epub ahead of print, January 11]. PubMed

Hamaker M, O'Hara NN, Eglseder WA, Sciadini MF, Nascone JW, O'Toole RV. Radiographic predictors of symptomatic screw removal after retrograde femoral nail insertion. Injury 2017 [Epub ahead of print, January 6]. PubMed

Becker EH, Kim H, Shorofsky M, Hsieh AH, Watson JD, O'Toole RV. Biomechanical comparison of cadaveric and commercially available synthetic osteoporotic bone analogues in a locked plate fracture model under torsional loading. J Orthop Trauma 2017 [Epub ahead of print, January 5]. PubMed

Jazini E, Klocke N, Tannous O, Johal HS, Hao J, Salloum K, Gelb DE, Nascone JW, Belin E, Hoshino CM, Hussain M, O'Toole RV, Bucklen B, Ludwig SC. Does lumbopelvic fixation add stability? A cadaveric biomechanical analysis of an unstable pelvic fracture model. J Orthop Trauma 2017;31(1):37–46. PubMed

Additional Publication Citations

Tornetta P III, Litrenta J, Ricci W, Sanders R, O'Toole RV, Nascone JW, Faber H, Wilson D. In vivo correlation of radiographic scoring (RUST) and biomechanical data in a sheep osteotomy model: Can we define union radiographically? J Orthop Trauma 2016 [Epub ahead of print, December 22]. PubMed

Griffioen MA, Greenspan JD, Johantgen M, Von Rueden K, O'Toole RV, Dorsey SG, Fenn CL. Acute pain characteristics in patients with and without chronic pain following lower exteremity injury. Pain Manage Nurs 2016 [Epub ahead of print, December 10]. PubMed

Hardeski D, Gaski G, Joshi M, Venezia R, Nascone JW, Sciadini MF, O'Toole RV. Can applied external fixators be sterilized for surgery? A prospective cohort study of orthopaedic trauma patients. Injury 2016;47(12):2679–2682. PubMed

Reilly RM, Robertson T, O'Toole RV, Manson TT. Are antibiotic nails effective in the treatment of infected tibial fractures? Injury 2016;47(12):2809–2815. PubMed

Shah SB, Manson TT, Nascone JW, Sciadini MF, O'Toole RV. Radiographic determinants of early failure after posterior wall acetabular fracture fixation. Orthopedics 2016;39(6):e1104–e1111. PubMed

Manson TT, Reider L, O'Toole RV, Scharfstein DO, Tornetta P III, Gary JL; Major Extremity Trauma Research Consortium (METRC). Variation in treatment of displaced geriatric acetabular fractures among 15 Level I trauma centers. J Orthop Trauma 2016;30(9):457–462. PubMed

Whitney Kluk A, Zhang T, Russell JP, Kim H, Hsieh AH, O'Toole RV. Biomechanical and cost comparisons of near-far and pin-bar constructs. Orthopedics 2016 [Epub ahead of print, October 13]. PubMed

Hoshino CM, Christian MW, O'Toole RV, Manson TT. Fixation of displaced femoral neck fractures in young adults: Fixed-angle devices or Pauwel screws? Injury 2016;47(8):1676–1684. PubMed

Allmon C, Greenwell P, Paryavi E, Dubina A, O'Toole RV. Radiographic predictors of compartment syndrome occurring after tibial fracture. J Orthop Trauma 2016;30(7):387–391. PubMed

Matuszewski PE, Costales T, Zerhusen T, Coale M, Mehta S, Pollak AN, O'Toole RV. Is the digital divide for orthopaedic trauma patients a myth? Prospective cohort study on use of a custom Internet site. J Orthop Trauma 2016;30(7):e246–e251. PubMed

Major Extremity Trauma Research Consortium (METRC); including O'Toole RV. Building a clinical research network in trauma orthopaedics: The Major Extremity Trauma Research Consortium (METRC). J Orthop Trauma 2016;30(7):353–361. PubMed

Hagen J, Castillo R, Dubina A, Gaski G, Manson TT, O'Toole RV. Does surgical stabilization of lateral compression-type pelvic ring fractures decrease patients' pain, reduce narcotic use, and improve mobilization? Clin Orthop Relat Res 2016;474(6):1422–1429. PubMed

Matuszewski PE, Boulton CL, O'Toole RV. Orthopaedic trauma patients and smoking: Knowledge deficits and interest in quitting. Injury 2016;47(6):1206–1211. PubMed

Nascone JW, O'Toole RV. Editorial comment: Current issues in orthopaedic trauma: Tribute to Clifford H. Turen. Clin Orthop Relat Res 2016;474(6):1383–1384. PubMed

O'Halloran K, Coale M, Costales T, Zerhusen T Jr, Castillo RC, Nascone JW, O'Toole RV. Will my tibial fracture heal? Predicting nonunion at the time of definitive fixation based on commonly available variables. Clin Orthop Relat Res 2016;474(6):1385–1395. PubMed

Richards JE, Matuszewski PE, Griffin SM, Koehler DM, Guillamondegui OD, O'Toole RV, Bosse MJ, Obremskey WT, Evans JM. The role of elevated lactate as a risk factor for pulmonary morbidity after early fixatrion of femoral shaft fractures. J Orthop Trauma 2016;30(6):312–318. PubMed

Research Interests

Our group’s research interests span all areas of orthopaedic trauma using many types of study designs. We lead large well-funded multicenter trials, perform pilot trials at our own Center, and undergo a host of retrospective studies aimed at providing data to answer larger questions. Our work involves clinical, biomechanical, and basic science studies. We boast one of the largest orthoapedic trauma research groups nationally, with 10 full-time staff and many collaborators. At our Center, we have fully integrated clinical research into day-to-day clinical practice. 

Our areas of interest are diverse and include prevention of complications after orthopaedic trauma, particularly surgical site infection, blood clots, treatment of high-energy trauma, pelvic and acetabular surgery, damage control orthopaedics, biomechanics of orthopaedic trauma, upper extremity fractures, and prevention and treatment of nonunion. Please contact us at any time regarding areas of potential collaboration.

Clinical Specialty Details

Dr. O’Toole is clinically active, performing more than 500 operations per year and taking full orthopaedic trauma call at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center. His areas of clinical interest include the following:

Acetabular and pelvic surgery

Compartment syndrome

Complex fractures


Mangled extremity


Orthopaedic trauma

Osteomyelitis and surgical site infection

Posttraumatic stiffness and arthritis

Awards and Affiliations

2014   Shock Trauma Hero Award, Clinical Service, R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, Baltimore, MD

2014   Top Poster Award, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting

2014   Top 10 Orthopaedic Trauma Association Papers

2015   Carnegie Mellon Football Man of the Year Award

2015   Orthopedics This Week, 19 Best Orthopedic Traumatologists in North America

2015   Top 10 Orthopaedic Trauma Association Papers 2015

2015   Shock Trauma Hero Award, Clinical Service, R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, Baltimore, MD

2016   Elected by medical students as Faculty Marshall at 2016 University of Maryland School of Medicine Graduation

Grants and Contracts

Active Grants



Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute

“A Randomized Pragmatic Trial Comparing the Complications and Safety of Blood Clot Prevention Medicines Used in Orthopaedic Trauma Patients"



Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

“Smoking Cessation Orthopaedic Trauma: Let's STOP (Smoking in Trauma Orthopaedic Patients)”



United States Department of Defense

“Supplemental Perioperative Oxygen to Reduce Surgical Site Infection after High-Energy Fracture Surgery”


United States Department of Defense

“Novel Therapy to Reduce Infection after Operative Treatment of Fractures at High Risk of Infection: A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial”



United States Department of Defense

“A Prospective Randomized Trial to Assess Fixation Strategies for Severe Open Tibia Fractures: Modern Ring External Fixators versus Internal Fixation”

Professional Activity

Dr. O'Toole maintains consulting relationships with Smith & Nephew and CoorsTek.

Patient Appointments and Referrals

To make an appointment, call 410-448-6400 or 1-800-492-5538, Monday through Friday, 8 AM through 5 PM. If you call at other times, our appointment specialists will call you back during the next business day.


If you are a physician who wants to refer a patient to the University of Maryland Medical Center, call 1-800-373-4111.


Thank you.