Lawson Ashley Bragg Copley, MD $$

Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon

Professor at UT Southwestern Medical Center

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UT Southwestern Pediatric Group

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Lawson Copley, M.D., is an orthopedic surgeon and director of the Musculoskeletal Infection (MSI) Program at Children’s Health℠. He is also part of the orthopedic medical staff at Texas Scottish Rite for Children.

Dr. Copley started the MSI Program after noticing how often children were admitted with deep infections in the bones, joints, muscles and other parts of the body. Yet at the time medical care for these patients was not standardized, and families would be shuffled around to multiple departments and doctors for various examinations. Under Dr. Copley’s direction, the MSI Program has adopted a family-centered model that brings the family together with the multidisciplinary team in one room for an open discussion about the patient’s treatment.

Dr. Copley says this approach not only helps standardize care for patients and improves outcomes, but it also helps bring peace of mind to families.

“They come into the hospital with a lot of uncertainty because their child was fine the day before but suddenly can’t use their arm or leg,” says Dr. Copley. “I generally see a lot of relief when we show them the lab results and images, explain the diagnosis and tell them how their child is going to get better. They now know they’re in the right place.”

Dr. Copley graduated magna cum laude from Wheaton College and received his medical degree from Kansas University Medical Center. He completed both his internship in general surgery and his residence in orthopedic surgery at the University of Pennsylvania. He also completed the Dorothy and Bryant Edwards Fellowship in Pediatric Orthopaedics and Scoliosis at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children.

Dr. Copley is a veteran of the United States Air Force and served as chief of surgical services, 96th Medical Group. He continues to serve in the Air Force Reserves and says it gives him the opportunity to serve the country.

Outside of his practice, Dr. Copley spends time with his three children, all of whom have taken up various musical instruments. Dr. Copley also plays the guitar and piano and enjoys performing together with his children.

Education and Training

Medical School
University of Kansas School of Medicine (1991)
University of Pennsylvania Medical Center (1992), General Surgery
University of Pennsylvania Medical Center (1996), Orthopaedic Surgery
Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children (1997), Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery
Graduate School
Kellogg School of Management (2007)
Board Certification
American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Research Interests

    • Clinical outcomes of the surgical treatment of osteomyelitis, septic arthritis and pyomyositis in children
    • Epidemiology of Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Musculoskeletal Infections in Pediatric Patients.
    • Genetic virulence factors of Methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus
  • Publications

    • The Impact of the Current Epidemiology of Pediatric Musculoskeletal Infection on Evaluation and Treatment Guidelines, Gafur OK, Copley LA et al Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics 2008 28 777-785
    • Musculoskeletal Infection, Copley LA, Dormans JP, and Davidson RS in Dormans JP (Ed).Requisites in Orthopaedic Surgery 2004 Mosby, Philadephia 93-110
    • Cervical Spine Disorders in Infants and Children, Copley LA, Dormans JP Journal of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 1998 6 (4) 204-214
    • A Comparative Evaluation of Halo Pin Designs in an Immature Skull Model, Copley LA, Pepe MD, Dormans et al Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research 1998 357 212-218
    • Vascular Injuries and Their Sequelae in Pediatric Supracondylar Humeral Fractures: Toward a Goal of Prevention., Copley LA, Dormans JP, and Davidson RS Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics 1996 16 99-103
    • Common Elbow Injuries in Children: Evaluation, Treatment, and Clinical Outcomes, Milbrandt TA, Copley LA Current Opinion in Orthopaedics In Press
    • Cervical Orthoses Including Traction and Halo Devices for Children, Copley LA and Dormans JP in Clark CR (Ed) The Cervical Spine 4th Ed Lippincott, Philadelphia In Press
    • Successful Treatment of Unicameral Bone Cyst by Single Percutaneous Injection of alpha-BSM, Thawrani D, Thai CC, Welch RD, Copley L, and Johnston CE Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics 2009 29(5) 511-517
    • Musculoskeletal Infections, Copley LA and Dormans JP Pediatric Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine 2004 93-110
    • The Accuracy and Reliability of Torque Wrenches at Low Settings for Halo Application in Children, Copley LA, Dormans JP, Pepe MD, et al Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery 2003 85A (11) 2199-2204
  • Professional Activities

    • American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons
    • Dallas County Medical Society
    • Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgeons of North American
    • Texas Medical Association
    • Texas Orthopaedic Association
  • Awards and Honors

    • D Magazine Best Pediatric Specialists (2010-2013, 2015, 2018-2021)
    • 96 Air Base Wing Commander’s Recognition Award (2001)
    • Fellow of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (2001)
    • Meritorious Service Medal - Surgical Operations Squadron Medical Group Eglin AFB Florida (2001)
    • ARCENT Kuwait Command Surgeon’s Recognition Award (2000)
    • Commander in Chief’s Special Recognition for Installation Excellence (2000)

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