March 23, 2022

Meet Benjamin Zmistowski, MD

Shoulder and Elbow Specialist

Dr. Zmistowski specializes in treating shoulder and elbow injuries and conditions, with a focus on rotator cuff repair, shoulder and elbow replacements, shoulder and elbow fractures and shoulder stabilization.

Where are you from? Anything fun about your hometown?

I spent the majority of my childhood in Old Town, Maine. Old Town is the hometown of Old Town Canoe — the best canoe or kayak you can buy!

What made you choose orthopedics as a specialty?

I chose orthopedics because of the significant and consistent difference we can make in a patient’s quality of life.  

What brought you to Washington University Orthopedics? How long have you been with WashU?

I came to Washington University for fellowship training in shoulder and elbow surgery. I came because the amazing reputation and mentors that were here: Drs. Yamaguchi, Keener, Chamberlain, and Aleem. I stayed because of the amazing people that make up this department in every specialty, but especially shoulder and elbow.

What aspect of your practice do you find most interesting or rewarding?

Providing patients with improvements in their quality of life through evidence-based non-operative treatment or appropriate surgical interventions such as rotator cuff repair and shoulder replacement.

Are you working on any interesting clinical trials or studies right now?

Much of current research focuses on internal rotation (reaching behind the back) following shoulder replacement. This is a task that is often treated as a secondary outcome of shoulder replacements and we are learning the impact it can have patient outcomes and how to improve it.

What’s on the horizon in shoulder and upper extremity patient care? What are you excited about?

Reverse total shoulder arthroplasty has revolutionized our field. However, we still have much to learn about who is right for this surgery and when, and how to optimize patient outcomes without have some unique complications. 

What’s the best thing about working and practicing at an academic medical center?

Practicing at this academic medical center has afforded me the opportunity to sub-specialize in shoulder and elbow and hopefully become an expert in that field. I believe that this allows me to provide the best care possible for my patients. 

What’s the best advice you ever received and who/what was it from?

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” –Yogi Berra

What’s your favorite thing to do outside of work?

Ski, golf, and have fun with my kids. True story - on my five-year-old’s birthday he learned to ride without training wheels and was very proud...until I came home and accidentally ran over his bike with my car. He forgave me once we got him a new bike. My wife and I met in middle school in Old Town (not in a canoe!). We have been married for 13 years and have four boys between the ages of two and 11.  

If you weren’t a doctor, what would you like to be doing?

I can’t imagine doing anything else.  

Learn more about  Dr. Zmistowski and why patients trust WashU Ortho for their  shoulder and elbow care


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