J. Tracy Watson, MD

J. Tracy Watson, MD


Orthopedic Traumatology, Limb Reconstruction

Board Certified

Medical School

Creighton University School of Medicine


Cleveland Clinic Foundation


University of Texas Health Science Center/Parkland Hospital; Technical University, Reich’s der Issar, Munich, West Germany; Kantonsspittal, St. Gallen, Switzerland; Kurgan, Siberia, U.S.S.R.



J. Tracy Watson, MD is an internationally respected, fellowship-trained, and board certified orthopedic surgeon. He specializes in orthopedic trauma, and adult fracture care, infections, osteomyelitis, amputations, nonunions, malunions, complex limb deformities, leg length inequality , complex periarticular fractures, and foot and ankle trauma.

Before joining The CORE Institute, Dr. Watson cared for patients at the Cleveland Clinic and at Henry Ford Hospital / Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, Michigan. He comes to The CORE Institute from St. Louis University, where he was Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Chief of the Orthopaedic trauma service and Orthopedic Surgery Service Line Chief. Dr. Watson received extensive training, completing three fellowships to hone his skills. His first was an orthopedic traumatology fellowship at the University of Texas Health Science Center/Parkland Hospital in Texas, one of the first programs of its type. He followed that with an A/O fellowship in Switzerland and West Germany to gain advanced training, in, among other things, the ability to handle soft tissues and the techniques of realignment osteotomies. Dr. Watson also traveled to France to investigate the Ilizarov technique for bone lengthening and complex fracture reconstruction, from Professor Jean Marie Hardy, a well-known surgeon in bone transport and limb lengthening. Dr. Watson later traveled to Kurgan, Siberia to study with Professor Gavriil Ilizarov and adopt his techniques of limb reconstruction utilizing Ilizarov techniques.

Prior to his fellowship training, Dr. Watson completed his orthopedic residency and general surgery internship at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio. He obtained his medical degree from Creighton University School of Medicine in Nebraska and earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Wyoming with High Honors.

Dr. Watson remains a consistent leader in the field of orthopedic trauma, and has been recognized for numerous awards, including Orthopedics This Week “Top 25 US Orthopedic Traumatologists” in 2012. He has published extensively on a wide variety of trauma related topics, and lectures nationally and internationally on his clinical series’ and his basic science research interests in orthobiologics and fracture biomechanics. He is a recognized expert in the areas of severe bone loss, bone transport, peri-articular injuries, as well as deformity correction.

He is a member of the American Orthopedic Association, AAOS, and the Orthopedic Research Society. He sits on the editorial boards of many Trauma and Orthopaedic related journals and is also a founding charter member of the National Trauma Institute, Foundation for Orthopedic Trauma, and the Limb Lengthening and Reconstruction Society. He is active in the Orthopaedic Trauma Association, and is the Past President of that organization, serving as President of the OTA in 2008-09. He is currently the chair of the Biologic Implants committee for the AAOS

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Patient Comments

Research & Experience

Zura R, Watson JT, Einhorn T, Mehta S, Della Rocca GJ, Xiong Z, Wang Z, Jones J, Steen RG. An inception cohort analysis to predict nonunion in tibia and 17 other fracture locations. Injury. 2017 Jun;48(6):1194-1203. doi: 10.1016/j.injury.2017.03.036. Epub 2017 Mar 27. PubMed PMID: 28377261.

Watson JT. The Role of Biologics and Bone Transport in Bone Defect Management, J Orthop Trauma supplement …

December 2017.

Busel GA, Watson JT, Israel H. Evaluation of Fibular Fracture Type vs Location of Tibial Fixation of Pilon Fractures. Foot Ankle Int. 2017 Jun;38(6):650-655. doi: 10.1177/1071100717695348. Epub 2017 Mar 13. PubMed PMID: 28288519.

Watson JT, Sanders RW. Controlled Compression Nailing for At Risk Humeral Shaft Fractures. J Orthop Trauma. 2017 Jun;31 Suppl 6:S25-S28. doi: 10.1097/BOT.0000000000000846. PubMed PMID: 28486287; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5426693.

Busel GA, Watson JT. Plating of pilon fractures based on the orientation of the fibular shaft component: A biomechanical study evaluating plate stiffness in a cadaveric fracture model. J Orthop. 2017 Apr 17;14(2):308-312. doi: 10.1016/j.jor.2017.04.001. eCollection 2017 Jun. PubMed PMID: 28458472; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5397126.

OʼToole RV, Gary JL, Reider L, Bosse MJ, Gordon WT, Hutson J, Quinnan SM, Castillo RC, Scharfstein DO, MacKenzie EJ SLU METRC collaborator Watson JT; METRC. A Prospective Randomized Trial to Assess Fixation Strategies for Severe Open Tibia Fractures: Modern Ring External Fixators Versus Internal Fixation (FIXIT Study). J Orthop Trauma. 2017 Apr;31 Suppl 1:S10-S17. doi: 10.1097/BOT.0000000000000804. PubMed PMID: 28323796.

Arvesen JE, Watson JT, Israel H. Effectiveness of Treatment for Distal Tibial Nonunions With Associated Complex Deformities Using a Hexapod External Fixator. J Orthop Trauma. 2017 Feb;31(2):e43-e48.106.

Watson, JT: Complications In Tibial Pilon Fractures:Avoiding Errors In Judgment. Techniques in Foot and Ankle Surgery. December 2016, 15;(4): 175-187.

Kottmeier SA, Watson JT, Row E, Jones CE Staged Fixation of Tibial Plateau Fractures; The Role of Posterior Approach Strategies. J Knee Surg. 2016:29; 2-11.

Watson JT,: Techniques in Skeletal Reconstruction After Bone Resection for Osteomyelitis. December 2015 - Volume 30 - Issue 4 - p 236–244.

Watson JT, Gold ST, Louie KL. Circular External Fixation for Pilon Fractures: Indications and Techniques. September 2015 - Volume 30 - Issue 3 - p 132–141.

Watson JT, Nicolaou DA. Orthobiologics in the augmentation of osteoporotic fractures. Current Osteoporosis Rep. 2015 Feb;13(1):22-9.

Watson JT, Foo T, Wu J, etal.CD271 as a Marker for Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Bone Marrow vs Umbilical Cord Blood. Cells Tissues Organs . Dells , Tissue Organs. February 6, 2013 Published online: May 14, 2013

Moed BR, Watson JT: Retrograde Unreamed Intramedullary Nailing of Fractures of the Femoral Shaft in the Multiply Injured Patient. J of Bone & Joint Surg 77-A:10:1520-1527, 1995

Watson JT, Stulberg BN. Fat embolism associated with cementing of femoral stems designed for press-fit application. J Arthroplasty. 1989;4(2):133-7. PubMed PMID: 2746245.

Sledge SL, Johnson KD, Henley MB, Watson JT. Intramedullary nailing with reaming to treat non-union of the tibia. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1989 Aug;71(7):1004-19. PubMed PMID: 2760076.

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