Brigham & Women's Hospital

Thomas S. Thornhill, MD

Thomas S. Thornhill, M.D.

John B. and Buckminster Brown Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery
Harvard medical school

2012-13 Chief's Report | BWH Chief's Report 2012-2013 PDF

Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service (Dr. Larry Higgins)


The Brigham and Women’s Sports Medicine/Shoulder Service continues to develop as a world class and internationally renowned program in these subspecialties. The team of physicians has expanded through academics, research, education, and clinical productivity. The Shoulder Service, Cartilage Repair Center, Advanced Center for Cartilage Repair, Shoulder & Sports Injuries (ACCSS), and Women’s Sports Medicine Program make up the core of the Service which continues to serve as a worldwide referral center for complex sports medicine injuries. In the past two years the team has grown to seven Attending physicians on the Service with the addition of Dr. Elizabeth Matzkin, Dr. Nitin Jain and Dr. Arnold Alqueza. Dr. Elizabeth Matzkin has been appointed as the Surgical Director, Women’s Musculoskeletal Health and Assistant Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Nitin Jain is a non-surgical Shoulder and Sports Medicine specialist, and is a faculty member in the Departments of Orthopedics and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Arnold Alqueza is the Chief of Upper Extremity Orthopedics VA Boston Healthcare System, and Orthopedic Instructor, Hand and Upper Extremity at Harvard Medical School. These physicians, along with Dr. Tom Minas, Dr. Andreas Gomoll, Dr. Laurence Higgins, and Dr. Scott Martin work collaboratively to provide the best care possible for not only routine issues, but for unique cases in areas such as Cartilage Repair and Women’s Sports Medicine. Services are delivered to patients throughout the expanded Partners Healthcare Campus at the main hospital 45 Francis Street in Boston; 850 Boylston Street in Chestnut Hill; Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital in Boston (Jamaica Plain) and 20 Patriot Place in Foxborough.


Dr. Higgins has been the Chief of the Sports Medicine/Shoulder Service since 2005. In this role Dr. Higgins is responsible for working with his colleagues to ensure that they deliver superlative care to every patient through cutting-edge techniques, educational resources and growth in patient volume. Dr. Higgins also serves as the Fellowship Director of the BWH/MGH Shoulder and Elbow Fellowship Program which trains four fellows each year in the advancement of knowledge through research and clinical management of all problems affecting the shoulder. Dr. Higgins’ runs a busy clinical practice to thrive as a premier shoulder care center with his complex and revision surgeries, including treatment of rotator cuff injuries, shoulder instability, complex shoulder fractures, shoulder replacement and knee instability (in particular ACL, PCL and complex ligamentous injuries). Dr. Higgins commitment to National Orthopedic Societies is evident by his recent appointments in numerous leadership roles. He is presently serving as Chairman of the ASES Value-Driven Shoulder Committee and ASES Membership Committee; and also Chairman for the AAOS Sports Medicine Safety and Quality Summit Steering Committee. Dr. Higgins maintains a robust research practice and currently serves as the Principle Investigator on over 10 active projects. His recent work has centered upon clinically relevant projects involving instability (Latarjet study) and timing of rotator cuff repairs, both of which have significant clinical implications in the current management of these conditions. Additionally, Dr. Higgins continues to investigate the determinants of cost drivers in Orthopaedic surgery publishing on volume effects in Total Shoulder Arthroplasty, Rotator Cuff Repairs and Proximal Humeral Fractures. The body of work on the economics of cost drivers in Orthopedic Surgery has blossomed into a collaborative relationship with Professor Michael Porter and Professor Robert Kaplan from the Harvard Business School. A prospective time driven activity based cost accounting (TDABC) study examining outpatient surgical management of rotator cuff tears is the first of its’ kind will be completed by Summer 2013.


Dr. Martin serves as the Fellowship Director of the BWH Sports Medicine ACGME Accredited Fellowship Program which continues to attract candidates of the highest caliber each academic year. The program trains two fellows who rotate with all Attendings on the Service and provide team coverage for professional, college and high school level athletics. Active participation in the field of care for the injured athlete offers a specialized and broader experience for the sports fellow including weekly training room teaching. The Sports Medicine Service also offers a bioskills anatomy lab that concentrates on teaching psychomotor and eye-hand coordination to carry out a multitude of surgical procedures on both models and cadaveric specimens. Dr. Martin was recently presented with the Faculty Award for Excellence in Mentoring and Advising by the Harvard Medical School Class of 2013.


Dr. Minas is the Director of the Cartilage Repair Center at BWH and is a national and international leader in his work on cartilage repair and his expertise with autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI). He has performed two of the only ACI’s in the hip joint in the United States and he has also performed over 400 ACI’s. He has also designed an interpositional device (Conformis) and patellofemoral joint prosthesis to help osteoarthritic patients avoid a total knee replacement.


Dr. Gomoll has an active clinical and research interest in cartilage disorders, and performs cartilage repair procedures, osteotomies and meniscal transplantation. Dr. Gomoll, Dr. Higgins, Dr. Jain, Dr. Matzkin and Dr. Jon JP Warner (MGH) collaborate on the Rotator Outcomes Workgroup (ROW) study. This is a multi-year prospective study about the clinical diagnosis and management of rotator cuff tears. Approximately 200 patients are currently enrolled with a target enrollment of 350+ patients. The diagnosis component focuses on sensitivity and specificity of clinical shoulder exams in confirming rotator cuff tear prior to imaging studies. The second aim is to assess the outcomes of surgical treatment versus conservative management. Dr. Minas and Dr. Gomoll’s reputation as leaders in the repair of Cartilage and Osteotomies is worldwide. They recently received the Insall award from the Knee Society for work on the long-term outcomes of ACI.


Dr. Elizabeth Matzkin, BWH OrthopaedicsDr. Matzkin is the director of the Women’s Musculoskeletal Program at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and coordinates a robust research program focusing on Women’s Health. Her team includes the addition of a new PA, Kaitlin Whitlock and also Emily Curry as Research Assistant to the Women’s Musculoskeletal Program. Dr. Matzkin was recently appointed to the AAOS Communications Cabinet, AAOS Women’s Health Advisory Board and as Editor of the Arthroscopy Journal. Dr. Higgins and Dr. Matzkin serve as Co-PIs on an ongoing research study of orthopaedic sports medicine, arthroscopy and related surgery registry using the web-based Ortho Illustrated Surgical Outcome System (SOS). This goal of this registry is to create a database of all surgical patients and report clinical outcomes at important milestones in their recovery, over a 5-year period. Dr. Matzkin is beginning a collaborative study with Smith College to determine the prevalence of female athlete triad among college athletes at Smith College and Mount Holyoke College. Other research projects that Dr. Matzkin and her research team are focusing on include: Relationship of Internet or Social Medial Usage and Patient Referral Patterns in Orthopedic Surgery; and The Influence of Sex on Compensation and Satisfaction in Orthopedics.


Dr. Jain’s research interests are focused on shoulder disorders, and he is currently PI on a NIH funded K-23 grant on rotator cuff tears. Dr. Jain has published in the area of spinal cord injury including shoulder pain in wheelchair users. Dr. Jain has an active clinical practice with a focus on patients with shoulder issues and the use of musculoskeletal ultrasound for therapeutic and diagnostic purposes.


Dr. Alqueza graduated from the Harvard Combined Orthopedic Residency Program in 2010 and then completed a Hand and Upper Extremity fellowship and also a Shoulder and Elbow Fellowship at the Brigham and Women’s/Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Alqueza is gearing up a busy practice with services at BWH including hand and upper extremity and shoulder care. His current research focuses on Thumb CMC Arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and he is also participating in a Rotator Cuff Utilization Study.


The Sports Medicine/Shoulder Service draws upon the unique talents of each of his members and continues to expand its footprint across the greater Boston area. The team as a whole has recently committed to the collection and documentation of outcomes measures for surgical patients in order to demonstrate their high quality care. Expanded coverage for college athletics and sponsorship of Rehabilitation Services Education events offers relationship building opportunities for not only the Sports Service, but the Brigham and Women’s Hospital as a whole. Ongoing growth is made possible by the network of colleagues and reputation of the services the team delivers.

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