535 East 70th Street • New York, NY 10021 • 212-606-1888

David L. Helfet, MD

David L. Helfet, MD

Orthopaedic Surgeon

Attending Orthopaedic Surgeon; Hospital for Special Surgery, NY Presbyterian Hospital
Chief Emeritus of Orthopaedic Trauma Service; Hospital for Special Surgery, NY Presbyterian Hospital
Professor of Surgery, Orthopaedics, Weill Cornell Medical College

Dr. Helfet serves as the Director of the Orthopaedic Trauma Service at both Hospital for Special Surgery and New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medicine. He is also a Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Weill Cornell Medicine. Dr. Helfet is consistently annually top ranked among as a top orthopaedic surgeon in the reference book “America’s Top Doctors” published by Castle Connolly and “New York Magazine – Best Doctor” rankings, for well over twenty years. Dr. Helfet is also an official surgeon for the New York Police Department, New York State Police, and Fire Department of New York.

No orthopaedic injury is complex as Dr. Helfet is world renowned expert for treatment of complex fractures of the extremities, pelvis and acetabulum, etc (please see below). He also has vast expertise in treatment of nonunions, malunions, correction of post-traumatic deformity and limb lengthening, athletic stress fractures and sports fractures, surgical treatment of congenital hip dysplasia, and hip preservation.

Dr. Helfet has performed extensive clinical and laboratory research with well over 250 published articles in the speciality of Orthopaedic Trauma, which is presented in scientific conferences both nationally and internationally and widely published in leading medical journals.

Dr. Helfet specializes in:

  • Minimally invasive surgery
  • Fractures and dislocations of both the upper and lower extremities
  • Fractures of the pelvis and acetabulum
  • Complex fractures with angular deformities and/or bone defects
  • Poly-trauma patients with orthopaedic injuries
  • Stress fractures and sports fractures
  • Fractures in adolescents, adults and the elderly populations
  • Periprosthetic fractures
  • Insufficiency fractures
  • Complex cases requiring correction of deformity or limb lengthening
  • Corrective osteotomies (long bones and pelvic osteotomies)
  • Non-unions and Malunions
  • Hip dysplasia and hip preservation surgery
  • Chronic post-partum pelvic pain and/or instability

Dr. Helfet was born in Capetown, South Africa. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Cape Town, receiving a BSc in biochemistry with honors, followed by medical school, where he received a M.B.CH.B. degree in 1975. Internship and surgical residency was performed at Edendale Hospital in Pietermaritzburg, S.A. and at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in Baltimore, MD., followed by orthopaedic residency also at Johns Hopkins University, then a Trauma Fellowship at the University of Bern, Insel Hospital (1981) and a Sports Fellowship at UCLA (1981-82).

He was Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (1/82-6/86), Associate Professor and Chief of Orthopaedic Trauma at the University of S. Florida School of Medicine/Tampa General Hospital (7/86-6/91) and at the Cornell University Medical College (7/91-6/98). He is currently Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University and Director of the Combined Orthopaedic Trauma Service at both Hospital for Special Surgery and New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

His expertise as an Orthopaedic Traumatologist is well recognized. He is a fellow in good standing of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, is a past president of the Orthopaedic Trauma Association, is a former examiner and question writer for the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and is a Trustee of the AO North America and the AO/ASIF Foundation. He has trained over 56 Orthopaedic Trauma Fellows and numerous international fellows. He has received such visiting lectureships as the Presidential Guest and Watson-Jones Memorial Lecture of the British Orthopaedic Association, and has been the recipient of many honors and awards including the Philip D. Wilson Jr. Teaching Award.


535 East 70th Street
New York, NY 10021
212-606-1888 phone | 212-628-4473 fax
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Hospital for Special Surgery
535 East 70th Street
New York, NY 10021
Get Directions

Our Patients

  • “Dr. Helfet saved my leg. I was told I could never walk again. He is the best in the whole world.”

    ~ Patricia Valero

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  • “Dr. David Helfet had looked at my leg, immediately rushed me to the OR and did a 4 compartment release saving my only leg!”

    ~ Dawn Bray

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  • “The entire hospital staff were just amazing from the instant we rolled through the doors throughout the entire stay.”

    ~ Victor Katz

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  • “Most definitely worth traveling across the country!”

    ~ H. Hope Hamill

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  • “I immediately felt taken care of and safe after a traumatic time.”

    ~ Kathleen Wells

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  • “The level of expertise and care is beyond imagination. Dr. Helfet is an artist.”

    ~ Herve Duteil

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  • “We could not have wished for a better outcome given a very severe and untimely injury.”

    ~ James DeSousa

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David L. Helfet, MD

535 East 70th Street
New York, NY 10021

212-606-1888 phone
212-628-4473 fax

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