Photo of Bertram (Bert)  Zarins, MD

Bertram (Bert) Zarins, MD

  • Emeritus Chief, Sports Medicine Service
  • Augustus Thorndike Clinical Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Harvard Medical School
  • Sports Medicine Orthopaedic Surgeon


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Dr. Zarins is a leading sports medicine orthopaedic surgeon who has made important advances in arthroscopic surgery, both nationally and abroad. Dr. Zarins specializes in ACL reconstruction, knee ligament injuries and rotator cuff shoulder injuries.



Clinical Interests
  • ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) reconstruction
  • Rotator Cuff repair (shoulder)
  • Meniscus (knee cartilage) injuries
  • Knee ligament injuries
  • Shoulder dislocation
  • Patella (kneecap) dislocation
Medical Education
  • MD, SUNY at Syracuse (Upstate) College of Medicine
  • Residency, Massachusetts General Hospital|Residency, The Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • Fellowship, Massachusetts General Hospital
Board Certifications
  • Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Waltham: Mass General West
Insurances Accepted
  • Aetna Health Inc.
  • Beech Street
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield - Blue Care 65
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield - Indemnity
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield - Managed Care
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield - Partners Plus
  • Centene/Celticare
  • Cigna (PAL #'s)
  • Fallon Community HealthCare
  • Great-West Healthcare (formally One Health Plan)
  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Plan - ACD
  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Plan - other
  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Plan - PBO
  • Health Care Value Management (HCVM)
  • Humana/Choice Care PPO
  • Medicaid
  • Medicare
  • Medicare - ACD
  • Neighborhood Health Plan - ACD
  • Neighborhood Health Plan - PBO
  • OSW - Maine
  • OSW - New Hampshire
  • OSW - Vermont
  • Private Health Care Systems (PHCS)
  • Railroad Medicare
  • Railroad Medicare - ACD
  • Senior Whole Health
  • TriCare
  • Tufts Health Plan
  • Unicare
  • United Healthcare (non-HMO) - PBO
Patient Age Group

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Dr. Bertram Zarins received his MD degree with honors from SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse in l967. He did an internship and assistant residency in general surgery at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Dr. Zarins completed the Harvard Combined Orthopaedic Residency Program in l973 and a fellowship in Sports Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

Dr. Zarins is the Augustus Thorndike MD Clinical Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Harvard Medical School. He started the Sports Medicine Service at the Massachusetts General Hospital and was its Chief until 2007. He was a pioneer in the development of arthroscopic surgery and in anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery. Dr. Zarins was the head team physician for the Boston Bruins (NHL) for 32 years, the New England Patriots (NFL) for 24 years, and the New England Revolution (MLS) for 14 years. Dr. Zarins served on the US Olympic Committee Sports Medicine Council for 12 years and was head physician for the XIV Winter Olympics in Sarajevo in l984. Dr. Zarins has been Chairman of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Committee on Sports Medicine and was the Consulting Editor for Sports Medicine for the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

Dr. Zarins is a specialist in the treatment of injuries to the knee and shoulder and in arthroscopic surgery. He specializes in anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction and other knee ligament and cartilage injuries. He also is an expert in the treatment of shoulder rotator cuff injuries and shoulder instability (dislocations and subluxations).

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Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Zarins' clinical contributions have been in the development of Sports Medicine and arthroscopy as specialties and in the treatment of knee and shoulder injuries. He developed an anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction and has improved ways to stabilize the shoulder. Dr. Zarins also helped develop some of the arthroscopic diagnostic and surgical procedures that are used in arthroscopic surgery of the knee, shoulder and other joints today.

Dr. Zarins' research interests are related to knee, shoulder, and ankle injuries. Basic science research projects Dr. Zarins has done include biomechanical studies of the knee and ankle and studies on the effects of laser energy on musculoskeletal tissues.


Select Publications:

Mesiha M, Zurakowski D, Soriano J, Nielson JH, Zarins B, MurrayMM. Pathologic characteristics of the torn human meniscus. Am J Sports Med 2007;35:103-12.

Chan BP, Amann C, Yaroslavsky AN, Title C, Smink D, Zarins B, Kochevar IE, Redmond RW. Photochemical repair of Achilles tendon rupture in a rat model. J Surgical Research 2005;124:274-9.

Wang C, Ghalambor N, Zarins B, Warner JP. Arthroscopic versus open bankart repair:analysis of patient subjective outcome and cost. Arthroscopy 2005;21:1219-22.

Giza E, Mithofer K, Farrell L, Zarins B, Gill T. Injuries in wome's professional soccer. Br J Sports Med 2005;39:212-6.

Gill TJ, DeFrate LE, Wang C, Carey CT, Zyontz S, Zarins B, Li G. The effect of posterior cruciate ligament reconstruction on patellofemoral contact pressures in the knee joint under simulated muscle loads. Am J Sports Med 2003;32:109-13.

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News & Events

  • Mass General Hospital Physicians make "The List"

    Boston Magazine recognizes 134 MGH physicians on its annual list of top doctors in the Boston area.

  • MGH hosts president of Latvia

    MGH Hotline 10.08.10 Hundreds of clinical and research fellows train at the MGH each year and go on to achieve great things in their careers. One former fellow, who trained in the MGH Department of Orthopaedic Surgery in the early 1990s, is the current President of the Republic of Latvia Valdis Zatlers.


  • Sports Medicine Center: Shoulder Arthroscopy

    Dr. Bertram Zarins has prepared this video to educate and inform patients on what they need to know before having Shoulder Arthroscopy at the Mass General Hospital Sports Medicine Center.

  • Sports Medicine Service: Rotator Cuff Repair

    Dr. Bertram Zarins has prepared this video to educate and inform patients on what they need to know before having shoulder rotator cuff repair surgery at the Mass General Hospital Sports Medicine Center.

  • Sports Medicine Center: ACL Reconstruction

    Dr. Bertram Zarins prepared this video to educate and inform patients on what they need to know before having Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Reconstruction surgery at the Mass General Hospital Sports Medicine Center.

  • Sports Medicine Center: Preparing for Surgery

    Dr. Bertram Zarins has prepared this video to educate and inform patients on what they need to know before having orthopedic surgery at the Mass General Hospital Sports Medicine Center.

  • Sports Medicine Service

    Meet some of the members of our Sports Medicine Service.

  • Part II: ACL Reconstruction Surgery

    This animation demonstrates the procedure used in Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Reconstruction surgery.

  • MGH hosts president of Latvia

    The President of the Republic of Latvia, Dr. Valdis Zatlers visited the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery on September 28, 2010. President Zatlers is an orthopaedic surgeon and completed his Fellowship training in the early 1990s at Department of Orthopaedic Surgery’s Sports Medicine Service. He was mentored by Dr. Bertram Zarins, MD, who currently is Chief Emeritus of the Sports Medicine Service. The President toured the Sports Medicine Center along with the Latvian ambassador to the United States, Mr. Andrejs Pildegovics, MGH President, Dr. Peter Slavin and Chief of Orthopaedic Surgery, Dr. Harry Rubash.

  • Part I: Knee Anatomy

    This animation explains the anatomy of the ligaments which provide stability for the knee.


MGH Sports Medicine Center
175 Cambridge Street
4th Floor
Boston MA, 02114-2723
Phone: 617-726-3421
Fax: 617-726-3438

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