Associate Professor Rocco Paolo Pitto
Orthopaedic Surgeon, FRACS, Master in Health Management, PhD, MD and Master Diploma in Teaching for Teachers.
Born in Genoa, Italy, Dr. Pitto has held the position of Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, since 2001. He is Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Middlemore Hospital, Auckland, and Honorary Associate Professor at the University of Auckland Bioengineering Institute.
Dr. Pitto began his medical education at the Catholic University of Rome, Italy, where he graduated 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 Berne University, Switzerland.
In 1993, Dr. Pitto returned to Germany where he was appointed Consultant and clinical research assistant in Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg School of Medicine. He obtained his PhD degree and was appointed Assistant Professor in 1988.
Dr. Pitto’s clinical practice focuses on total hip replacement through both anterior and posterior approaches, and total knee replacement using computer-assisted technologies. Dr. Pitto also has extensive experience in revision total hip and knee joint replacement.
Dr. Pitto is very committed to teaching (and learning from!) residents and colleagues and has received several honours in his career. He has received the SICOT Trainees Award in 1991, the John Charnley Award of the Hip Society in 1998, the Best Poster Award of the Hip Society in 1999, the Best Paper Award of the Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons in 2006, and the John Insall Award of the Knee Society in 2017.
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 20 book chapters. Dr. Pitto has organized more than 30 conferences and learning labs nationally and internationally.
He served as a reviewer on the Cochrane Musculoskeletal Injuries Group, the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (Br), and International Orthopaedics. Dr. Pitto is since January 2013 Adult Hip Reconstruction Deputy Editor for the leading 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. 2006, he was elected President of the AO-ASIF Alumni, New Zealand Chapter (Association for the Study of Internal Fixation). He is active member of the International Hip Society and currently President of the Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons.
Dr. Pitto loves sailing and tries to stay in shape doing some maintenance work in his countryside hide away in the south of Auckland. He and his children Sylvia, Max and Mario live in Auckland’s Freemans Bay with his wonderful wife Melanie. Currently, the family has to put up with his trying to learn to cook despite Dr. Pitto having no inherent culinary talent to speak of.
Research | Current
Research specialties and career
- 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.
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
- 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)
- Naot, D., Watson, M., Choi, A. J., Musson, D. S., Callon, K. E., Zhu, M., ... Munro, J. T. (2020). The effect of age on the microarchitecture and profile of gene expression in femoral head and neck bone from patients with osteoarthritis. Bone reports, 1310.1016/j.bonr.2020.100287
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Ian Reid, Dorit Naot, Maureen Watson, David Musson, Karen Callon, Jillian Cornish, Anne Horne, Greg Gamble, Jacob Munro, Nicola Dalbeth
- Pitto, R. P. (2020). CORR Insights®: Are Lipped Polyethylene Liners Associated with Increased Revision Rates in Patients with Uncemented Acetabular Components? An Observational Cohort Study. Clinical orthopaedics and related research, 478 (3), 590-592. 10.1097/corr.0000000000001127
- Pitto, R. P. (2019). Letter to the Editor: Editorial: What Do You Say When a Patient Says Thank You?. Clinical orthopaedics and related research, 477 (12)10.1097/corr.0000000000001008
- Powell, A. J., Crua, E., Chong, B. C., Gordon, R., McAuslan, A., Pitto, R. P., & Clatworthy, M. G. (2018). A randomized prospective study comparing mobile-bearing against fixed-bearing PFC Sigma cruciate-retaining total knee arthroplasties with ten-year minimum follow-up. The bone & joint journal, 100-B (10), 1336-1344. 10.1302/0301-620x.100b10.bjj-2017-1450.r1
- 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
- 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