Associate Professor Rocco Paolo Pitto

Orthopaedic Surgeon, FRACS, Master in Health Management, PhD, MD and Master Diploma in Teaching for Teachers.

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Associate Professor - Medical
Honorary Academic
Associate Professor - Clinical


Born in Genoa, Italy, on the 20th of June 1962, Dr Pitto has held the position of Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Auckland New Zealand since 2001.

He began his medical education at the Catholic University of Rome, Italy, where he graduated cum laude with a MD degree in 1987. In 1992, Dr. Pitto completed the residency programme in orthopaedic and trauma surgery which was attended jointly at the Centro Traumatologico Ortopedico, Florence University, Italy, and at Klinik Wichernhaus, Nuremberg, Germany.  After the board examination, he held a fellowship in hip surgery at Bern University, Switzerland.

In 1993, Dr. Pitto returned to Germany where he was appointed clinical research assistant and consultant in orthopaedic surgery at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg School of Medicine. He obtained his PhD degree and was appointed Assistant Professor in 1988.

The clinical mentors of Dr. Pitto have included the internationally recognised Prof. Gianfranco Fineschi, Gabriele Stringa, Heinz Wagner, Rainhold Ganz, and Dietrich Hohmann.

Dr. Pitto has received several honours in his career. He has received the SICOT Trainees Award in 1991, the prestigious John Charnley Award of the Hip Society in 1998, the Best Poster Award of the Hip Society in 1999, and the Best Paper Award of the Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons in 2006, and 2017 the prestigious John Insall Award of the Knee Society.

Fluent in several languages, Dr. Pitto has been an active participant in many local and international medical societies. Dr. Pitto has published, as sole or co-author, more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and more than 20 book chapters. He served as a reviewer on the Cochrane Musculoskeletal Injuries Group, the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (Br), International Orthopaedics, and as consultant to the New Zealand Guideline Group. Since 2013, Dr. Pitto is Deputy Editor, Adult Hip Reconstruction, for the top-ranking journal Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research.

Dr. Pitto is particularly active in the clinical research area of hip surgery and in the promotion of education and research in Orthopaedics. He is clinical consultant of the Bone Laboratory, University of Auckland. 2003, Dr. Pitto was appointed Associate Member of the Bioengineering Institute to foster further research and teaching outputs. His strong link with the Institute culminated 2015 with the Honorary Professor nomination.

Research | Current

Research specialties and career

Summary statement

  • Extensive research activity and a recognised high-profile international career as an Academic Orthopaedic Surgeon.
  • Early research programmes performed in Germany to investigate various aspects of hip joint and spine biomechanics.
  • Continuous clinical research in the field of hip surgery.
  • Performed several randomized clinical trials to identify the risk and prevention aspects of embolic events in orthopaedic surgery.
  • In the last 10 years, research activities have focused on evidence-based orthopaedic surgery, computed-assisted osteodensitometry in total hip and knee replacement.
  • Emerging research areas include bone growth factors and in-vivo proliferation of osteoblasts and osteocytes in Paget, and normal bone
  • The considerable record of peer-reviewed publications substantiates my continuous and distinctive commitment in research.
  • In addition I have been directly involved in organising numerous local and international scientific meetings focusing on Orthopaedic Surgery.

The invitation to attend a Closed Meeting of the International Hip Society and subsequent endorsement of a recommendation to become active member of the Society, Illustrates the high-profile my academic and clinical career enjoys. The International Hip Society is the most exclusive body of researchers and surgeons in this field.

The Selection Committee of the Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons approved my application for membership. The ABJS is a prestigious North American Society, the selection process for members is extremely rigorous. The scientific profile of candidates must be very high and must provide strong evidence of excellent clinical/surgical skills.


Teaching | Current


1. Statement of Teaching Philosophy

Teaching has been a relevant component of my academic surgeon career since 1989. I enjoy educating undergraduate and postgraduate students. I started teaching medical students as a tutor at the University of Florence, Italy, and continued at the University of Bern, Switzerland. In 1998, I achieved the Venia Legendi, the right to educate medical students at the Erlangen-Nuremberg University, Germany. My philosophy of undergraduates teaching is learner-centred and emphasises the importance of the learner’s active participation in the learning process. My undergraduate and postgraduate clinical teaching in the lecture theatre, in the ward, in the operating theatre and in the lab covers all three domains of learning: cognitive, physcomotor, and affective. My postgraduate teaching is mainly focused on  educating Orthopaedic surgery trainees. I am a passionate basic science and clinical researcher, I test new ideas and techniques, and I transfer my research work in my teaching practice. I am also involved with several international scientific organisations dedicated to disseminate Orthopaedic knowledge worldwide; This includes educating senior colleagues in the field of hip and knee joint arthroplasty surgery.

2. Teaching Responsibilities

Fourth Year Medical Students Musculo-skeletal course, including class teaching, workshops, clinical tutorials, mock exams, evaluation of clinical case reports and OSCE exams (at South Auckland Clinical Campus, SACC).

Fourth Year Medical students final exam, Tutorial for fifth and sixth Year Students.

Education of House Officers and Junior Registrars at CMDHB. Clinical Supervisor for Orthopaedic Surgery Senior Registrars.

Supervision of third Year Engineering students, workshops and assignment

Supervision of PhD and MD students

Oral examination of postgraduate students (HoD representative)

Faculty member of several international organisations focusing on postgraduates and surgeons education including: 1)Association for the Study of Internal Fixation; 2) International Society of Orthopaedics and Traumatology; 3) Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons; 4) International Hip Society.

3. Description of Course Materials

The forth Year Medical Students Musculo-skeletal didactic material is included in the Syllabus of the University of Auckland. I personally designed my class lectures and contributed to the production of most handouts currenly available for the students.

4. Efforts to Improve Teaching

I regularly attend courses and seminars to improve my teaching skills and my ability to assess the performance of students and young postgraduate colleagues. I attended several Teaching for Teachers Courses of the Association for the Study of Internal Fixation (Davos, Switzerland, ranging from 1999 to 2012). More recently, I attended the University of Auckland Teaching and Learning Course (2015), and I completed the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Foundations Skills for Surgical Educators (2017).

Learning, teaching, feed-back and assessment are the four columns of education, my effort is to expand my skills in surgical teaching and training, and transfer my knowledge to the students.

5. Peer review

An internal peer review was carried out on the 12th of March 2018. Following the feedback with the reviewer, I implemented a number of changes in my teaching, including: 1) more frequent use of multimedia (functional anatomy, clinical signs demonstrations), 2) Discussion of clinical scenarios (relevant for general practice), 3) small groups discussions (anatomy, physiology).

6. Teaching Goals: Short- and Long-Term

I envisage to advance my teaching skills and improve my educational output attending education seminars and updating courses for teachers. I plan to use more frequently audiovisual didactic material and over the next 5 years I will progressively increase my time dedicated to undergraduate students.

7. Appendices

Dossier of relevant material, including a resume of my teaching activities during the last 15 years and the recent peer-review report.

8. Previous appointments

  • 1990 University of Florence, Italy, Junior Lecturer
  • 1992 University of Bern, Switzerland, Fellow / Junior Lecturer
  • 1993 University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen, Germany, Senior Lecturer
  • 1994 University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen, Germany, Assistant Professor

9. Teaching activity in Italy, Germany and Switzerland

  • Teaching of undergraduate students since 1990, and postgraduate students since 1993
  • Active participation as Junior Lecturer
  • Venia Legendi (permission to teach) at the Erlangen-Nuremberg University, Germany 1998
    • The Venia Legendi is a three year teacher development programme for academic staff and is a statutory requirement to become Member of the Faculty Board in Germany




  • 1991 Trainees Meeting Award, International Society of Orthopaedics and Traumatology (SICOT)
  • 1998 John Charnley Award, Hip Society
  • 1999 Best Poster Award, Hip Society
  • 2006 Best Paper Award, Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons
  • 2006 Best Paper Award, International Society of Orthopaedics and Traumatology (SICOT)
  • 2007 Best Paper Award, NZOA Trainees Meeting
  • 2011 Best Paper Award, NZOA Trainees Meeting
  • 2017 John Insall Award, Knee Society


Committees/Professional groups/Services

  • Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
  • Member of the International Hip Society
  • Member of the International Society of Orthopaedics and Traumatology
  • Member of the Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons
  • Member of the NZ Orthopaedic association
  • Member of NZ Guideline Group, Knee Injuries
  • Editorial Board of the scientific Journal International Orthopaedics
  • Deputy Editor, Adult Hip, Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Pitto, R. P. (2018). CORR Insights®: Tantalum Components in Difficult Acetabular Revisions Have Good Survival at 5 to 10 Years: Longer Term Followup of a Previous Report. Clinical orthopaedics and related research, 476 (2), 343-344. 10.1007/s11999.0000000000000107
  • Young, S. W., Zhang, M., Moore, G. A., Pitto, R. P., Clarke, H. D., & Spangehl, M. J. (2018). The John N. Insall Award: Higher Tissue Concentrations of Vancomycin Achieved With Intraosseous Regional Prophylaxis in Revision TKA: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Clinical orthopaedics and related research, 476 (1), 66-74. 10.1007/s11999.0000000000000013
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Simon Young
  • Pitto, R. P. (2017). CORR Insights®: Operative Fluoroscopic Correction Is Reliable and Correlates With Postoperative Radiographic Correction in Periacetabular Osteotomy. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, 475 (4), 1107-1109. 10.1007/s11999-016-5111-x
  • Pitto, R. P., & Sedel, L. (2016). Periprosthetic Joint Infection in Hip Arthroplasty: Is There an Association Between Infection and Bearing Surface Type?. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, 474 (10), 2213-2218. 10.1007/s11999-016-4916-y
  • Pitto, R. P. (2016). CORR Insights(®): Hard-on-hard Bearings Are Associated With Increased Noise Generation in Young Patients Undergoing Hip Arthroplasty. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, 474 (10), 2123-2125. 10.1007/s11999-016-4841-0
  • Pitto, R. P., Garland, M., & Sedel, L. (2015). Are ceramic-on-ceramic bearings in total hip arthroplasty associated with reduced revision risk for late dislocation?. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, 473 (12), 3790-3795. 10.1007/s11999-015-4395-6
  • Arachchi, S., Pitto, R. P., Anderson, I. A., & Shim, V. B. (2015). Analyzing bone remodeling patterns after total hip arthroplasty using quantitative computed tomography and patient-specific 3D computational models. Quantitative imaging in medicine and surgery, 5 (4), 575-582. 10.3978/j.issn.2223-4292.2015.08.03
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Vickie Shim, Iain Anderson
  • Pitto, R. P., & Koh, C. K. (2015). Flowtron foot-pumps for prevention of venous thromboembolism in total hip and knee replacement. Journal of orthopaedics, 12 (1), 35-38. 10.1016/j.jor.2014.10.001

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 1, Room 101
New Zealand