Robert M. Campbell, MD

Robert M. Campbell Jr., MD, is director of CHOP’s Center for Thoracic Insufficiency Syndrome and inventor of the VEPTR device to treat thoracic insufficiency syndrome.

Areas of Expertise: Chest wall and spine deformity, Congenital scoliosis, General pediatric orthopedic surgery, Neuromuscular disease and chest wall disorders, Scoliosis and other disorders of the spine
Appointments and Referrals: 1-800-TRY-CHOP (1-800-879-2467)

  • Background

    Dr. Campbell is Director of the Center for Thoracic Insufficiency Syndrome (CTIS) at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and an attending physician in the Division of Orthopedic Surgery.

    He is best known as the inventor of the VEPTR (Vertical Expandable Prosthetic Titanium Rib) device, which is used to treat rare diseases of the spine and chest wall, through surgical expansion of the chest and correction of spinal deformity, without inhibiting children’s growth.

    He has published extensively on the thoracic and pulmonary disability of these patients and was the first to identify the disease Thoracic Insufficiency Syndrome (TIS).

    In creating the Center for Thoracic Insufficiency Syndrome, Dr. Campbell has assembled an interdisciplinary team, including surgeons, pulmonologists, nutritionists and others to bring a comprehensive approach to treatment of the disorder. His primary focus at CHOP is to expand the VEPTR program and explore new devices, deepen research into the natural history of TIS and develop further advances in treatment.

    In addition to providing surgical care for TIS patients, Dr. Campbell treats routine pediatric orthopedic conditions, such as scoliosis, developmental dysplasia of the hip and clubfoot.

    Dr. Campbell obtained his bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, and his medical degree from Georgetown University Medical School, Washington, DC. He completed an orthopedic residency at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center, Aurora, CO, and did his pediatric orthopedic fellowship at the Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, DE.

    Prior to coming to CHOP in 2009, he held the President’s Council Chair in Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio.

  • Education and Training

    Medical School

    Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, DC


    Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu, HI


    Fitzsimons Army Medical Center, Denver, CO


    Alfred I. DuPont Institute, Wilmington, DE

    Board Certification

    American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS)

  • Titles and Academic Titles

    Attending Surgeon

    Director, Center for Thoracic Insufficiency Syndrome

  • Conditions Treated
  • Departments and Services
  • Research Interests
    • Thoracic insufficiency syndrome
    • Vertical expandable titanium rib (VEPTR) implantation treatment
    • Congenital scoliosis
  • Publications



    Campbell RM. Operative strategies for thoracic insufficiency syndrome by vertical expandable prosthetic titanium rib expansion thoracoplasty. Operative techniques in orthopaedics. Vol 15: 315-325. Philadelphia: Lippincott-Williams; 2005.


    Campbell RM. Fractures, elbow. In: Stockman III A, Lohr JA, editors. Essence of office pediatrics. Pg 153. Philadelphia: WB Saunders; 2001.

    Campbell RM. Child abuse. In: Beaty J, Kasser J, editors. Fractures in children. Philadelphia: Lippincott; 2001.


    Campbell RM. Congenital scoliosis due to multiple vertebral anomalies associated with thoracic insufficiency syndrome. In:  Drummond DS, editor. SPINE: state of the art reviews, strategies in the pediatric spine, 1st ed. Vol 14, No. 1. Philadelphia: Hanley & Belfus, Inc.; 2000. 

    Akbarnia BA, Campbell RM. The Role of the orthopaedic surgeon in child abuse. In: Morrissy RT, Weinstein SL, editors. Lovell and Winter's pediatric orthopaedics, 5th ed. Vol II, Chap 33, Pg 1423. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2000.


    Campbell RM. Problem injuries in unique conditions of the musculoskeletal system. In: Rockwood CA, Wilkins KE, Beaty, editors. Fractures in children. 4th Edition, Philaelphia-New York:  JH Lippincott-Raven; 1996.


    Campbell Jr RM. Orthopaedic complications of metabolic bone disease. In: Epps Jr CH, Bowen JR, editors. Complications in pediatric orthopaedic surgery. Philadelphia: JB Lippincott Co; 1995.


    Campbell RM. Problem injuries in unique conditions of the musculoskeletal system. In:  Rockwood CA, Wilkins KE, King RE, editors. Fractures in children. 2nd edition. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Co. Philadelphia; 1991.



    Ramirez N, Flynn JM, Emans JB, Betz R, Smith JT, Price N, St Hilaire T, Joshi AP, Campbell RM. Vertical expandable prosthetic titanium rib as treatment of thoracic insufficiency syndrome in spondylocostal dysplasia. J Pediatr Orthop. 2010 Sep;30(6):521-6. Cited in PubMed: PMID  20733413. Read the abstract.


    Skaggs DL, Choi PD, Rice C, Emans J, Song KM, Smith JT, Campbell RM Jr. Efficacy of intraoperative neurologic monitoring in surgery involving a vertical expandable prosthetic titanium rib for early-onset spinal deformity. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2009 Jul;91(7):1657-63. Cited in PubMed: PMID 19571088. Read the abstract.

  • Editorial and Academic Positions

    2004-present, Member, American Academy of Pediatrics Pediatric Device Development Task Force

    2000-present, Member, Medical Advisory Committee, National Organization of Rare Disorders

    1987-present, Consultant reviewer for The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery