J. Spence Reid, MD

    Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus
    1985 …2024

    Research activity per year

    Personal profile

    Professional information

    Board-certified in Orthopaedic Surgery, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, 1995, 2005 and 2015

    Member, American Orthopaedic Association, 2013 to present


    Teaching and educational interests

    Dr. J. Spence Reid spends a significant amount of his day teaching medical students, residents and fellows. The Orthopedic Trauma Fellowship, for which he is program director, is currently in its 11th year and has been very successful, with approximately 50 percent of graduates securing positions in academic institutions and the remainder  providing high-quality trauma care at nonacademic level I or II centers. 

    The goal is to expose these learners to the broad concepts and principles that allow for successful treatment of the orthopedic trauma patient. Clinically, this translates to progressive responsibility for the planning and management of clinical cases under the direction of the trauma attending. In the case of the trauma fellow, these clinical responsibilities exist on a higher level and prepare the fellow to function independently at a Level I trauma center at the conclusion of the one-year experience. 

    The educational mission of the trauma division is mainly directed at the orthopedic resident as well as the trauma fellow, and the case-directed conference and literature-based conference, each held once a week, comprise the bulk of formal teaching. Fellows also participate in a weekly difficult-case review and lead a three- to four-article journal club each week. Upon completion and verification of the FracSim platform, the department plans to incorporate that educational software package into the clinical teaching of fracture fixation biomechanics.

    Clinical interests

    During the past 10 years, the Division of Orthopaedic Trauma in the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation has sustained several challenges. Local competition for trauma cases has increased with the presence of other Level I/Level II trauma centers in the region. This has resulted in a decrease in case volume of approximately 15 to 20 percent during this period. In addition, the case mix has changed significantly with advances in automotive safety. The incidence of significant pelvis trauma from motor vehicle accidents has fallen. Coincident with this change has been a rather dramatic increase in the same period of periprosthetic fractures. This trend will continue, and these types of cases will likely dominate the trauma case mix in decades to come. 

    In light of this, Dr. J. Spence Reid has shifted his practice to allow younger faculty to gain experience in cases such as straightforward pelvis and acetabular fracture while maintaining his focus on difficult pelvis, acetabular and peri-articular fractures . Meanwhile, he continues to develop and expand his practice of trauma-related reconstruction cases, which include non-unions, malunions, infection and bone loss. Treatment of these cases often requires the use of software-linked ring fixation and involvement of plastic surgery colleagues for soft-tissue coverage problems. There has been increasing use of internal lengthening and bone transport IM nails in these reconstructive cases. Dr. Reid's goal is to both expand and formalize this service line into a "limb reconstruction service" and to identify or recruit another faculty member to share the burden of these cases over the next several years.

    Research interests

    Dr. J. Spence Reid has been Penn State Health/Penn State College of Medicine's principal investigator for the Major Extremity Trauma Research Consortium studies for more than 10 years. The Department of Defense-funded consortium includes more than 30 Level I trauma centers and four military centers.

    As part of that work, Dr. Reid has enrolled patients, participated in manuscripts and contributed to several of the group's key studies, including FIXIT, VANCO, BIOBURDEN, PO/vIV, TAOS and PAIN. The group is preparing to enroll patients in three newer studies as well. Funding from METRC to Penn State over the course of the studies is more than $1 million.

    Also, the trauma division is a member of the New England Fracture Consortium. This group seeks to answer some basic questions in trauma with large, multicenter retrospective studies, and several publications have emerged from this partnership.

    Another of Dr. Reid's focus areas, in conjunction with Greg Lewis, PhD, is the execution of biomechanically related research. Bench biomechanical research as well as finite element modeling studies are ongoing and have resulted in multiple publications. 

    The most exciting area of research is the use of finite-element modelling to develop an educational software package directed at orthopedic residents and fellows as well as surgeons needing a refresher. This package (FracSim) will teach basic biomechanical concepts in fracture fixation and allow the learner to make changes (i.e. plate length, screw configuration, loading pattern) and immediately see the resulting changes in clinically important variables such as plate stress, fracture gap strain and fatigue life of implant. This software is currently operational and received second place in an AO competition for innovation in education in 2019. A four-year NIH R0-1 award that began in May 2020 will allow for further development of FracSim as a standlone product.

    The second arm of the finite element modelling initiative is called FracPlan and seeks to employ finite-element modeling to aid in decision-making regarding patient specific pre-operative planning in difficult fracture cases. Other preoperative planning software packages are geometrically based, allowing fractures to be segmented and reduced and then "best-fit" with scaled implants. It is hoped that since FracSim and FracPlan will use a common platfrom (Kitware – Paravue), planned cases can be transferred in a de-identified manner to FracSim and used to populate a growing bank of educational real-world cases.

    Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

    In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

    • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

    Education/Academic qualification

    Orthopaedic Trauma, Fellowship, R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center

    … → 1993

    Orthopaedic Surgery, Residency, Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

    … → 1992

    MD, Penn State College of Medicine

    … → 1985

    External positions

    President, Limb Lengthening and Reconstruction Society


    Board of Directors Member, Limb Lengthening and Reconstruction Society

    2014 → …

    Member, External Fixation Expert Group and Education Committee, AO North America

    2013 → …

    Reviewer, Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research

    2012 → …

    Reviewer, Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma

    2005 → …

    Member, Board of Directors, Pennsylvania Trauma Systems Foundation



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