Seth S. Leopold, M.D.

Editor-in-Chief, Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research

B.A. in Biology (cum laude), Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, 1989
Medical School
MD with Honors in Research, Cornell University Medical College, New York, NY, 1993
Surgery; University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, 1993-94
Orthopaedic Surgery; University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, 1994-1998
Adult Reconstruction of the Hip and Knee; Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center, Chicago, IL, 1998-1999
Board Certification
Board Certified

My approach to treating patients

I specialize in hip and knee replacement surgery. My practice emphasizes the care of patients with all types of arthritis of those joints, as well as the treatment of patients whose prior joint replacements have failed. I am especially interested in some of the newer, less-invasive approaches to hip and knee replacement.

Several key variables affect the success of joint replacement surgery. High on this list are the patient's own motivation and attitude during recovery. But equally important are the surgeon's background, skill, and clinical volume, which studies have directly linked to best outcomes. I am fellowship-trained in joint replacement surgery. My practice focuses almost exclusively on the operative treatment of patients with hip and knee arthritis, and I have performed thousands of joint replacements in patients with these conditions, using less-invasive approaches whenever appropriate.  In addition, I have taught these procedures to other surgeons, treated complex cases referred by other surgeons, and published results from my research about these problems since beginning in practice. These factors, working in partnership with positive-thinking patients, offer the best likelihood of achieving excellent clinical results.

But technical skill and patient motivation are not the entire equation; good judgment and thoughtful decision-making are essential, as well. Since most joint replacements are considered elective - usually life-improving, but seldom life-saving - the decision to have surgery can become complicated. In other words, patients who decide to have arthritis surgery take what is usually a small risk with their health (the operation itself), with the hope of obtaining a better quality of life. Only the person with the pain knows when the time is right to make this choice, and my task is to support and help guide the patient through this important process.

I do this by helping to educate patients as to the risks and benefits of arthritis surgery; this can only be accomplished after considering carefully each patient's specific health problems, pain patterns, and desired life activities. Because of the intensely personal nature of this decision, there is no cookbook approach; while my role is important, it is primarily supportive. My goal, with every patient, is to strike the balance of education, empathy, and partnership that will best serve each individual whose life I am privileged to touch.

Patient Care Philosophy

Dr. Leopold believes he and the patient with arthritis share a lifelong journey. He hopes to serve as guide, coach and cheerleader on that journey. He cares for arthritis patients by actively listening and educating them about contemporary treatments.

Clinical Interests

Dr. Leopold's clinical interests include less invasive surgical treatments for arthritis, non-surgical treatments for arthritis and management of failed joint replacements.

Personal Interests

Dr. Leopold enjoys family, sea kayaking, playing piano, boxing, reading fiction and philosophy.

Make an Appointment

206.520.5000 | 877.520.5000

Surgeries and Diagnosis


  • Minimally invasive (quadriceps-sparing) total knee replacement
  • Total knee replacement
  • Minimally-invasive partial knee replacement (unicompartmental)
  • Knee osteotomy
  • Total hip replacement
  • Mini-incision total hip replacement
  • Hemiresurfacing arthroplasty of the hip (partial hip replacement)
  • Hemiarthroplasty for hip fracture
  • Open reduction internal fixation (repair) of hip fractures
  • Knee arthroscopy


  • Osteoarthritis (hip/knee)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (hip/knee
  • Avascular necrosis (osteonecrosis of the femoral head)
  • Developmental dysplasia of the hip
  • Metastatic disease to the hip/pelvis/knee
  • Hip fracture
  • Meniscus tears in the knee
  1. Squyer, E.; Stamper, D.L.; Hamilton, D.T.; Sabin, J.A.; Leopold, S.S.: Unloader Braces for Osteoarthritis: Do Patients Actually Wear Them? Clin Orthop 471: 1982-1991, 2013.
  2. Zeltser, D.W.; Leopold, S.S.: Classifications in Brief: Schatzker classification of tibial plateau fractures. Clin Orthop 471: 371-374, 2013.
  3. Amman S, Cizik A, Leopold SS, Manner PA. Two-Incision Minimally Invasive vs. Standard Total Hip Arthroplasty:  Comparison of Component Position and Hospital Costs.  J Arthroplasty 27: 1569-1574, 2012.
  4. Lohse, G.R.; Leopold, S.S.; Theiler S.; Sayre C.; Cizik, A.; Lee, M.J.: Systems-based safety intervention: Reducing falls with injury and total falls on an orthopaedic ward. J Bone Joint Surg Am 94:1217-1222, 2012.
  5. Carofino, B.C.; Leopold, S.S.: Classifications in Brief – The Neer classification for proximal humerus fractures. Clin Orthop 471: 39-43, 2013.
  6. Kim, P.K.; Leopold, S.S.: Classifications in Brief: The Gustilo-Anderson classification for open fractures.  Clin Orthop 470: 3270-3274, 2012.
  7. Hacquebord, J.; Leopold, S.S.: Classifications in Brief: The Risser Classification — A classic tool for the clinician treating adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Clin Orthop470: 2335-2338, 2012.
  8. Iannuzzi, N.P.; Leopold, S.S.: Classifications in Brief: The Mason classification for radial head fractures. Clin Orthop 470: 1799-1802, 2012.
  9. King JC, Manner PA, Stamper DL, Schaad DC, Leopold SS.:Is Minimally Invasive Total Knee Arthroplasty Associated with Lower Costs Than Traditional TKA?. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2010 Dec 16. [Epub ahead of print]
  10. Wolf, C.F.; Gu, N.Y.; Doctor, J.; Manner, P.A.; Leopold, S.S.: Comparison of direct-exchange vs. two-stage revision for the infected THA: A Markov expected-value decision analysis. In press. J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2010.
  11. King, J.C.; Manner, P.A.; Stamper, D.L.; Schaad, D.C.; Leopold, S.S.: Economic analysis of minimally invasive versus traditional total knee arthroplasty. In press. Clin Orthop, 2010.
  12. Emerson, W.; Brand, R.A.; Heckman, J.D.; Warme, W.J.; Wolf, F.M.; Leopold, S.S.:Testing for the presence of positive-outcome bias in peer review: A randomized controlled trial. Arch Intern Med, 170 (21): 1934-1939, 2010
  13. Leopold, S.S.: Minimally invasive total knee arthroplasty for osteoarthtitis. N Engl J Med 360:17;1749-1758, 2009.
  14. Gu, N.; Doctor, J.; Wolf, C.; Manner, P.A.; Leopold, S.S.: A comparison of physician and patient time tradeoffs for postoperative hip outcomes. Value Health 12(4): 618-20, 2009.
  15. King, J.; Stamper, D.L.; Schaad, D.C; Leopold, S.S.:Minimally-invasive total knee arthroplasty versus medial parapatellar total knee arthroplasty: New approach appears to facilitate recovery, but learning curve is lengthy. J Bone Joint Surg Am, 89:1794-1503, 2007.
  16. Lynch, J.R.; Cunningham, M.R.A.; Warme, W.J.; Wolf, F.M.; Schaad, D.C.; Leopold, S.S.:Commercially-funded and United States-based research is more likely to be published; good-quality studies with negative outcomes are not. J Bone Joint Surg Am, 89-A (5); 1010–18, 2007.
  17. Lee, M.B.; Schmale, G.A.; Porter, M.; Leopold, S.S.: Osteoporosis and total hip arthroplasty—An update. Current Med Lit Rheumatol, 26(1): 1–10, 2007.
  18. Cunningham, M.R.A.; Warme, W.J.; Wolf, F.M.; Leopold, S.S.:Industry-funded positive studies not associated with better design or larger size. Clin Orthop, 457; 235–41, 2007.
  19. Lenters, T.R.; Wolf, F.M.; Leopold, S.S.; Matsen III, F.M.; Franta, A.K.:Arthroscopic compared with open repairs for recurrent anterior shoulder instability: A systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature. J Bone Joint Surg Am, 89-A: 244–54, 2007.
  20. Lynch, J.R.; Schmale, G.A.; Schaad, D.C.; Leopold, S.S.:Important demographic variables impact the musculoskeletal knowledge and confidence of academic primary care physicians. J Bone Joint Surg-Am, 88-A (7): 1589–95, 2006.
  21. Morgan, H.D.; Cizik, A.M.; Leopold, S.S.; Hawkins, D.S.; Conrad, E.U.:Survival of tumor megaprostheses replacements about the knee. Clin Orthop Relat Res, 450: 39–45, 2006.
  22. Nystuen, C.M.; Leopold, S.S.; Warme, W.J.; Simmons, G.E.:Cancellous impaction and cortical strut allografting for revision shoulder arthroplasty - A case report. J Shoulder Elbow Surg, 15: 244–248, 2006.
  23. Leopold, S.S.: Web Commentary—"Sodium hyaluronate in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the ankle: A controlled, randomized, double-blind pilot study." J Bone Joint Surgery (Electronic), 2006.
  24. Morgan, H.D.; Battista, V.; Leopold, S.S.:Constraint in Primary Total Knee Arthroplasty: How much is enough?J Am Acad Orthop Surg 13: 515–24, 2005.
  25. Cuddihy, E.; Wei, C.; Bartell, A.L.; Barrick, J.; Maust, B.; Leopold, S.S.; Spyridakis, J.H.: Conducting remote, Internet-based experiments on web design. IEEE International Professional Communication Conference Proceedings: 554–561, 2005.
  26. Leopold, S.S.: Web Commentary—“Early osteolysis in second-generation metal on metal hip replacement,” and “Diagnostic features of pelvic osteolysis on computed tomography: The importance of communication pathways.” J Bone Joint Surgery (Electronic), 2005.
  27. Leopold, S.S.; Morgan, H.D.; Kadel, N.J; Gardner, G.C.; Schaad, D.C.; Wolf, F.M.:The impact of educational intervention on provider confidence and competence in performing a simple surgical task. J Bone Joint Surg 87-A: 1031–1037, 2005.
  28. Morgan, H.D.; Leopold, S.S.:5 Points on impaction allografting of the femur in revision total hip surgery. Am J. Orthop 33: 381–383, 2004.
  29. Panackal, A.A.; Houze, Y.B.; Prentice, J.; Leopold, S.S.; Cookson, B.T.; Liles, W.C.; Limaye, A.P.:Prosthetic joint infection due to Helcococcus pyogenica. J Clin Micro: 42(6): 2872–2874, 2004.
  30. Morgan, H.D.; McCallister, W.; Cho, M.S.; Casnellie, M.T.; Leopold, S.S.:Impaction allografting for femoral component revision—Clinical update. Clin Orthop 420: 160–168, 2004.
  31. Leopold, S.S.; Casnellie, M.T.; Warme, W.J.; Dougherty, P.J.; Wingo, S.T.; Shott, S.:Endogenous cortisol production in response to knee arthroscopy and total knee arthroplasty. J Bone Joint Surg 85-A: 2163–2167, 2003.
  32. Leopold, S.S.; Warme, W.J.; Braunlich, E.F.; Shott, S.:Association between funding source and study outcome in orthopaedic research. Clin Orthop 415: 293–301, 2003.
  33. Leopold, S.S.; Redd, B.B.; Warme, W.J.; Wehrle, P.A.; Pettis, P.D.; Shott, S.:Corticosteroid versus Synvisc (Hylan GF-20) injections for knee osteoarthritis: A prospective, randomized trial. J Bone Joint Surg 85-A: 1197–1203, 2003.
    Comment in: J Bone Joint Surg 86-A: 874; author reply 874; J Bone joint Surg 86-A: 874; author reply 874–875.
  34. Leopold, S.S.; Silverton, C.D.; Barden, R.M.; Rosenberg, A.G.:Isolated patellar component revision in total knee arthroplasty. J Bone Joint Surg 85-A: 41–47, 2002.
  35. Leopold, S.S.; Warme, W.J.; Pettis, P.D.; Shott, S.:Increased frequency of acute local reaction to intra-articular hylan G-F 20 (Synvisc) in patients receiving more than one course of treatment. J Bone Joint Surg 84-A: 1619–1623: 2002.

    Comment in: J Bone Joint Surg 85-A: 1618–1619; author reply 1619–1620; J Bone Joint Surg 85-A: 1620; author reply 1620–1621; J Bone Joint Surg 85-A: 2050; author reply 2050–2051.


Research Awards

  1. "Top Reviewer" status, Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, 2012. One of 15 reviewers listed by the journal from their database of thousands of reviewers.
  2. Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons, Best Paper 2011. Received in Dublin, Ireland; Title: Testing for the presence of positive-outcome bias in peer review: A randomized controlled trial. An Abstract can be seen here.
  3. Faculty Sponsor - Resident Research Award (1st Place), 2009 Washington State Orthopaedic Association Annual Meeting, Seattle WA, 2009 (Resident: Christopher F. Wolf, MD)
  4. Faculty Sponsor - Jacquelin Perry Resident Research Award, Ruth Jackson Orthopaedic Society, 2007. (Resident: Joseph R. Lynch, MD).
  5. Faculty Sponsor - Frank B. Smith Research Award Paper, North Pacific Orthopaedic Society, Stevenson, WA. 2006. (Resident: Joseph R. Lynch, MD).
  6. Faculty Sponsor - Frank B. Smith Resident Research Award Paper, North Pacific Orthopaedic Society, Stevenson, WA. 2005. (Resident: Joseph R. Lynch, MD).
  7. Faculty Sponsor - Dehne Award, William Beaumont Army Medical Center. Principal investigator on resident’s project for Orthopaedic research award, 2001. (Resident: Brigham B. Redd, MD).
  8. Mid-America Orthopaedic Association Research Award. First-Year in Practice Research Travel Grant, 2000.

Previously Funded Projects

1. University of Chicago, Division of the Biological Sciences, Home Health Care Grant, “Warfarin vs. Enoxaparin in total knee arthroplasty: A prospective randomized study of thrombosis, bleeding, and difficulties of outpatient anticoagulation,” Principal Investigator, $22,000. 1997-2000.

2. William Beaumont Army Medical Center, Department of Clinical Investigation, WBAMC #00/08, “Intra-articular hip injection without fluoroscopic guidance–An anatomic assessment of technique and the structures at risk,” Principal Investigator, $15,100. December 13, 1999-December 13, 2000.

3. William Beaumont Army Medical Center, Department of Clinical Investigation, WBAMC #00/22, “Intra-articular corticosteroids versus hyaluronic acid injections for non-operative management of non-inflammatory arthritis of the knee: A prospective, randomized, blinded study,” Principal Investigator, $5,700. WBAMC Pharmacy Department, additional $25,000 material support. July 7, 2000-December 31, 2002.

4. William Beaumont Army Medical Center, Department of Clinical Investigation, WBAMC #01/20, “Measurement of normal endogenous glucocorticoid production in response to major and minor surgery procedures on the knee,” Principal Investigator, $9,045. June 15, 2001-December 31, 2002.

5. Orthopaedic Research Education Foundation/Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery Resident Journal Club Grant (2003), “Evidence-Based Medicine in Orthopaedics; Interpretation and Application of the Clinical Literature” Faculty Mentor to Wren McCallister, MD. $2,500.

6. FORE (Unrestricted Educational Grant) in collaboration with JBJS, “Relationships between non-scientific factors, study outcome, and eventual publication of orthopaedic research,” Principal Investigator, $28,000 taken from larger grant. January 2004 through January 2005.

7. Orthopaedic Research Education Foundation/Zimmer Orthopaedic Surgery Career Development Award, “Minimally-invasive total knee arthroplasty versus traditional-approach TKA,” Principal Investigator, $50,000. July 1, 2003-June 30, 2008.

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