Dr Richard Lawson

MBBS (Hons 1 Syd), FRACS, FAOrthA
Dr Richard Lawson
Dr Lawson grew up in Canberra and studied medicine at Sydney University, graduating with first class honours in 1994.

He chose orthopaedic surgery for his speciality and after passing through the Northern Sydney training scheme was awarded fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 2003, and decided to subspecialise in hand surgery.

He spent a year at Duke University in North Carolina in the US studying hand and reconstructive microsurgery with Professors Urbaniak, Levin and Nunley and watching the Duke Blue Devils and returned to Sydney to set up practice with Sydney Hand Surgery Associates in 2005.

His Sydney public hospital appointments are at the New Children’s Hospital at Westmead where he operates on paediatric patients with congenital hand problems and hand trauma; Royal North Shore Hospital where much of the work is complex nerve reconstruction and brachial plexus reconstruction; and Ryde Hospital where more general hand surgery is done.

Dr Lawson has worked at Dubbo Base and Private Hospitals since 2005 and visits Dubbo every month.

Areas of interest

Dr Lawson has particular interest and training in brachial plexus and peripheral nerve surgery, congenital hand surgery and Dupuytren’s disease. General hand surgery such as carpal tunnel and trigger finger surgery and hand and wrist trauma also makes up a big part of his work.

Overseas work

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Thanks to Graham Hextell and Orthopaedic Outreach. Click to enlarge.

Thanks to Graham Hextell and Orthopaedic Outreach.

Over the last six years Dr Lawson has joined the team led by Dr Peter Scougall and sponsored by Mosman Rotary on outreach visits to Hue Hospital in Vietnam to teach hand surgery to the surgeons of central Vietnam.


Dr Lawson is the Lincoln Director of Hand Surgery Research at Royal North Shore Hospital. He is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Hand Surgery (American) and a reviewer of the Journal of Hand Surgery (European).

Recent publications include:

Donald SM, Niu R, Jones CW, Smith BJ, Clarke EC, Lawson RD. Effects of Removal and Reinsertion of Headless Compression Screws. J Hand Surg Am. 2018 Feb;43(2):139-145.

Tolerton SK, Lawson RD, Tonkin MA: Management of flexor tendon injuries – Part 1: Australian Contributions. Hand Surgery 2014;19(2):297-203

Tolerton SK, Lawson RD, Tonkin MA: Management of flexor tendon injuries – Part 2: Current practice in Australia and guidelines for training young surgeons. Hand Surgery 2014;19(2):305-310.

Patel AU, Tonkin MA, Smith BJ, Alshehri AH, Lawson RD. Factors affecting surgical results of Wassel type IV thumb duplications. J Hand Surg Eur Vol. 2014 Nov;39(9):934-43.

Jones C, Lawson R: One size does not fit all: distal radioulnar joint dysfunction after volar locking plate fixation J Wrist Surg 2014;3:42-45.

Lawson RD, Tonkin MA: Technical considerations in microsurgical treatment of paediatric hand injuries. Injury, Int. J Care Injured 2013;44:327-330.

Baba M, Harvey J, Beard A, Lawson R: Flexor digitorum profundus avulsion injuries in Oztag players. MJA 2013;198(4):196

Tonkin MA, Tolerton SK, Quick TJ, Harvey I, Lawson RD, Smith NC, Oberg K: Classification of congenital anomalies of the hand and upper limb: development and assessment of a new system. JHS(A) 2013;38A:1845-1853.

Nui R, Woodbridge AB, Smith BJ, Ruff SJ, Lawson RD: Mobile garbage bins and hand injuries in older people. MJA 2013; 199 (7): 491-492.

Tonkin MA, Lawson RD: Clinical primary flexor tendon repair and rehabilitation – the Australian experience In: Bo Tang J (Ed) Tendon Surgery of the Hand Elsevier Philadelphia;2012;161-167


Professional memberships