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Lisa Lattanza, FAAOS, MD, FAOA

Hand Surgery, Orthopaedics & Rehabilitation, Shoulder and Elbow Orthopedic Surgery, Pediatric Orthopedics
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Patient type treated
Child, Adult
Accepting new patients
Yes
Referral required
From patients or physicians
Board Certified in
Orthopaedic Surgery and Surgery of the Hand (Orthopaedics)

Biography

Lisa Lattanza, MD, is the chair of Yale Medicine Orthopaedics & Rehabilitation and specializes in surgical reconstruction of pediatric and adult elbow problems, including those that are congenital or caused by trauma.

Dr. Lattanza is a world-renowned leader in personalized 3D surgical planning to correct upper extremity deformities. “Many bony deformities in orthopaedic surgery lend themselves to virtual surgical planning,” she says. “We capture images on a CT scan and run it through specialized software to create 3D images we can manipulate. We can plan our surgery before ever making a cut.”

This technology, Dr. Lattanza says, is the future. “Before virtual surgery, we were measuring from a regular X-ray in 2D and making assumptions about 3D objects—the bones. There is a lot of room for error with this. We are still mostly using off-the-shelf implants. Even though the technology exists for personalized implants, it is not widely approved. Eventually though, the days of pulling big trays of metal implants off the shelf will be gone—all patients will need is the one that has been 3D printed specifically for them, and that fits them perfectly,” she says. “We are already doing this and plan to build on it.” 

An athlete through college, Dr. Lattanza started her career as a physical therapist at a sports medicine group before deciding to pursue medical school. “I was totally enamored by the musculoskeletal system and was on a singular path to become an orthopaedic surgeon,” she says. “From there, I knew I wanted to be really good at one thing instead of being OK at a lot of things.”

After a rotation at a pediatric hospital, where a hand surgeon was treating a child born without a thumb, Dr. Lattanza knew her path. “In this procedure, you take the index finger, shorten it, rotate it, move all the muscles, tendons, nerves, and blood vessels around, so that the index finger becomes the thumb and you restore the ability to pinch and grasp,” she explains. “I thought there couldn’t be a cooler operation. And restoring that lost function, for me, was more rewarding than reconstructing an ACL tear. That’s when I decided to become a hand and upper extremity surgeon.”

Dr. Lattanza’s research interests also include diversity in orthopaedic surgery, specifically the underrepresentation of women. She co-founded a nonprofit organization, the Perry Initiative, which exposes high school girls to orthopaedic surgery and biomechanical engineering and female medical students to the field of orthopaedic surgery. The Perry Initiative has over 14,000 participants in 54 cities; about 21% of their graduates choose and match into orthopaedic surgery residencies.

Titles

  • Professor of Orthopaedics & Rehabilitation
  • Chair, Orthopaedics & Rehabilitation
  • Chief, YNHH

Education & Training

  • Fellow
    Pediatric Hand and Upper Extremity (1999)
  • Fellow
    Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, St. Luke's/Roosevelt Hospital (1999)
  • Resident
    University of Missouri Kansas City (1998)
  • Intern
    Harbor UCLA Medical Center (1994)
  • MD
    Medical College of Ohio (1993)
  • BS
    Bowling Green State University

Additional Information

Biography

Lisa Lattanza, MD, is the chair of Yale Medicine Orthopaedics & Rehabilitation and specializes in surgical reconstruction of pediatric and adult elbow problems, including those that are congenital or caused by trauma.

Dr. Lattanza is a world-renowned leader in personalized 3D surgical planning to correct upper extremity deformities. “Many bony deformities in orthopaedic surgery lend themselves to virtual surgical planning,” she says. “We capture images on a CT scan and run it through specialized software to create 3D images we can manipulate. We can plan our surgery before ever making a cut.”

This technology, Dr. Lattanza says, is the future. “Before virtual surgery, we were measuring from a regular X-ray in 2D and making assumptions about 3D objects—the bones. There is a lot of room for error with this. We are still mostly using off-the-shelf implants. Even though the technology exists for personalized implants, it is not widely approved. Eventually though, the days of pulling big trays of metal implants off the shelf will be gone—all patients will need is the one that has been 3D printed specifically for them, and that fits them perfectly,” she says. “We are already doing this and plan to build on it.” 

An athlete through college, Dr. Lattanza started her career as a physical therapist at a sports medicine group before deciding to pursue medical school. “I was totally enamored by the musculoskeletal system and was on a singular path to become an orthopaedic surgeon,” she says. “From there, I knew I wanted to be really good at one thing instead of being OK at a lot of things.”

After a rotation at a pediatric hospital, where a hand surgeon was treating a child born without a thumb, Dr. Lattanza knew her path. “In this procedure, you take the index finger, shorten it, rotate it, move all the muscles, tendons, nerves, and blood vessels around, so that the index finger becomes the thumb and you restore the ability to pinch and grasp,” she explains. “I thought there couldn’t be a cooler operation. And restoring that lost function, for me, was more rewarding than reconstructing an ACL tear. That’s when I decided to become a hand and upper extremity surgeon.”

Dr. Lattanza’s research interests also include diversity in orthopaedic surgery, specifically the underrepresentation of women. She co-founded a nonprofit organization, the Perry Initiative, which exposes high school girls to orthopaedic surgery and biomechanical engineering and female medical students to the field of orthopaedic surgery. The Perry Initiative has over 14,000 participants in 54 cities; about 21% of their graduates choose and match into orthopaedic surgery residencies.

Titles

  • Professor of Orthopaedics & Rehabilitation
  • Chair, Orthopaedics & Rehabilitation
  • Chief, YNHH

Education & Training

  • Fellow
    Pediatric Hand and Upper Extremity (1999)
  • Fellow
    Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, St. Luke's/Roosevelt Hospital (1999)
  • Resident
    University of Missouri Kansas City (1998)
  • Intern
    Harbor UCLA Medical Center (1994)
  • MD
    Medical College of Ohio (1993)
  • BS
    Bowling Green State University

Additional Information

1
Yale Physicians Building
800 Howard Avenue
New Haven, CT 06519
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  • Yale Physicians Building
    800 Howard Avenue
    New Haven, CT 06519
  • 1 Long Wharf Drive
    New Haven, CT 06511