South Hills Orthopaedic Surgery Associates Opens New Sports Medicine and Rehab Location at Siena

Dr. Bradley Cipriani, DPT, OCS

South Hills Orthopaedic Surgery Associates is a practice that is well known to many in the South Hills of Pittsburgh for exceptional surgeons who provide care for patients of all ages and in all areas of orthopedics, including total joint replacement, arthroscopic surgery, surgery of the hand, foot, and ankle, surgery of the spine, and sports medicine. Established in 1979, their physicians have a wealth of combined experience in delivering quality orthopedic patient care in a convenient and timely manner that demonstrates compassion and respect for each individual patient.

The practice has historically consisted of four orthopedic surgeons—Derrick Fluhme MD, Christopher Manning, MD,Brett Perricelli, MD, and Carmen Petraglia, MD— physician assistants Kristina Gifford, MPA, PA-C, Lauren Kirsch, PA-C, and Aaron Dean, PA-C, and podiatrist Damon Combs, DPM. The practice values the advantages of a multidisciplinary approach to medical care, and now offers specialists in the field of physical medicine and rehabilitation, along with physical therapy. The team has expanded to include three physical medicine and rehabilitation providers—Justin Petrolla, MD, Jose Ramirez-Del Toro, MD, and Rachel Bovalina, PA-C—along with the establishment of a physical therapy division directed by Bradley Cipriani, DPT, OCS, and John Duffy, PT, OCS. These individuals, who specialize in a variety of non-surgical treatment options, will provide patient care at the new facility, South Hills Sports Medicine and Rehab, set to open in June at Siena at St. Clair, a complex off Route 19 and Fort Couch Road.

Independently, these particular orthopedic professions have proven valuable and effective, but their impact strengthens when the combined effort can be coordinated to address patient concerns and limitations. The group’s accomplished individuals in these fields will maintain a high quality of care needed to improve patient outcomes and satisfaction. With physicians and therapists working side-by-side, thorough communication is maintained and patient concerns are quickly addressed.

South Hills Orthopaedic Surgery Associates providers are known experts in their respective fields. Both Dr. Justin Petrolla and Dr. Jose Ramirez-Del Toro have exceptional reputations for their standard of care and their ability to successfully assess and treat difficult orthopedic cases. Having known one another for over a decade, their desire to together establish a practice in non-operative care for sports and spine-related conditions is now realized.

Dr. Petrolla completed his residency in PMR at UPMC where he served as chief resident. He then completed an ACGME accredited pain fellowship and, due to the unique nature of his fellowship, he sat for the sports medicine boards, as well. This allowed him to achieve three board certifications. Dr. Petrolla has a special interest in non-operative treatment of spine-related pain, and treats “head to toe” spinal pain. Along with treating spine-related conditions, Dr. Petrolla uses botox for migraines and has an interest in regenerative medicine. While he maintains heavier interventional focus in his practice, he is keenly aware of the need for hands-on physical therapy. Dr. Petrolla is an avid lifter and has the expertise of working with Dr. Cipriani not only as a colleague, but also as a patient.

Dr. Ramirez-Del Toro is a board certified Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation physician, with a sub-specialty certification in Sports Medicine. Born in Puerto Rico, he moved to North Carolina in his youth. He completed his undergraduate studies at Princeton University, where he played basketball for legendary coach Pete Carril. He attended medical school in North Carolina and conducted his internship at Mercy Hospital of Pittsburgh and his residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He went on to complete a Sports Medicine fellowship after his residency at The New Jersey Sports Medicine Institute, with a focus on non-surgical musculoskeletal care of athletes and non-athletes alike.

After his fellowship, Dr. Ramirez-Del Toro moved back to Pittsburgh with his wife and joined The Orthopedic Group, a private practice orthopedic group, working there for ten years prior to joining South Hills Orthopaedic. During his tenure at The Orthopedic Group, he served for nine years as the head team physician and director of Sports Medicine for California University of Pennsylvania. He incorporated teaching into his professional duties and became one of a few area physicians to integrate his private practice with an academic practice. For four years he was an assistant professor and the director of the Sports Medicine Fellowship in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Dr. Ramirez-Del Toro has a special focus in non-surgical orthopedics and treats all manner of musculoskeletal pain, both spine and peripheral joint related. He treats soft tissue muscular, tendon, and ligamentous injuries, as well as joint problems stemming from injuries and arthritis. His treatment approach focuses on the whole person and maximizes all non-surgical options for musculoskeletal pain, from very conservative to very aggressive, and everything in between. Dr. Ramirez-Del Toro performs spine and joint image-guided procedures, using both fluoroscopy and ultrasound guidance. He also uses regenerative medicine, including platelet rich plasma, as well as bone marrow aspiration and lipid aspirations for the isolation of stem cells, in order to enhance the body’s natural tissue healing properties, following evidence-based guidelines. Additionally, he specializes in devising rehabilitation protocols after any acute, traumatic, overuse, or chronic injury.

Dr. Ramirez-Del Toro has published several articles in peer reviewed journals, as well as numerous book chapters, including a chapter in the book Regenerative Treatment in Sports and Orthopedic Medicine, the first comprehensive textbook devoted to orthobiologic treatments for orthopedic conditions. He has lectured locally, regionally, and nationally in the field of Sports Medicine. Focused on clean living, he believes that a healthy mind, body, and spirit are key to intentional joyful living. Married with two school-age daughters, Dr. Ramirez-Del Toro resides in Upper St. Clair.

Rachel Bovalina, MSPAS, PA-C, is a board-certified Physician Assistant, practicing for six years. Rachel received her BS in biobehavioral health from Penn State in 2009. She then went on to obtain her MS of Physician Assistant Studies from Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio. Rachel currently practices physiatry alongside Dr. Petrolla, and has previous clinical experience in neurosurgery, spine surgery, and orthopedic surgery. She lives in Cecil with her husband and their dog, Benny. Rachel enjoys exploring Pittsburgh cuisine, boating, and yoga.

Dr. Bradley Cipriani is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and an Orthopedic Clinical Specialist with undergraduate degrees in biology and health sciences. He completed his undergraduate training at Duquesne University where he was on scholarship as a member of the wrestling team. He continued as a graduate assistant wrestling coach while working towards his doctorate degree. Working in the outpatient orthopedic setting since 2010, he managed two offices prior to coming to South Hills Orthopaedic Associates.

Dr. Cipriani is the creator/co-founder of, a website that provides a video library of home exercises for patients, including nearly 800 videos that he has created. Through this, patients can learn about the purpose of each aspect of their recovery program and have unlimited access to his personal instruction for all movements.

Dr. Cipriani has strong ties to the community. He is an assistant wrestling coach at Mt. Lebanon High School and also works closely with many organizations in the South Hills, including the Ballet Academy of Pittsburgh, Indio Dojo Martial Arts, and many other fitness and yoga studios. Along with being credentialed as a board certified orthopedic specialist, Dr. Cipriani has a strong background in manual therapy and specialized approaches to exercise based in Germany (Schroth Method for the Treatment of Scoliosis) and Prague (Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization). Residing in Baldwin with his wife and two children (soon to be three!), he enjoys spending time with his family, coaching his children’s sports teams, and staying involved in wrestling and jujitsu.

Practicing for 28 years, John Duffy obtained board certification as an Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist in 1997. John began his career at Allegheny General Hospital and moved to South Hills Orthopaedic to become the director of their clinic on Vanadium Road, the original location of South Hills Sports Medicine. John practiced at that clinic for 17 years while also managing a large region of other clinics after that practice was sold to a private PT company. John managed many start-ups as well as a hospital-based physical therapy department at Nason Hospital, near Altoona. For nine years, John owned a PT website that provided daily information to PTs and MDs from around the world. Taking that educational idea to Facebook, he helped educate the community about what the profession is all about. In 1998, John moved to Phoenix Physical Therapy and practiced there for 11 years before joining South Hills Sports Medicine and Rehab.

Growing up in Scott Township, John attended Chartiers Valley High School. He went on to Pitt for his undergraduate degree in biology and then obtained his physical therapy degree from Pitt in 1991. A resident of USC with his wife, three children, and a new puppy, John’s home is a half mile from the new office. Semi-retired, John enjoys weight training, spending time with family, and continuing to learn about the evolving and improving field of physical therapy. “Duffy,” as he prefers to be called, owns and maintains a massage therapy business that his wife (a massage therapist and esthetician) manages and provides expert legal opinions for legal cases.

Dr. Cipriani and Duffy have collaborated with Dr. Petrolla and Dr. Ramirez-Del Toro, as well as the rest of the South Hills Orthopaedic physicians, for many years. Since 2012, Dr. Cipriani worked in the same office as Dr. Petrolla and Dr. Ramirez-Del Toro, growing accustomed to daily conversations that coordinated care in the best interest of their shared patients. John Duffy worked alongside the South Hills Orthopaedic physicians at their Vanadium Road location and has continued to treat many of their patients over the years.

The team at the new facility, South Hills Sports Medicine and Rehab, shares a similar philosophy in regards to patient care. It is simply not good enough to look at an image of an X-ray or MRI and base a patient’s care solely on thosefindings. What is needed is a thorough investigation, observation, and examination of a patient to understand the true nature of the problem.

Our team believes our vision and the patient’s best care and treatment can be accomplished through our combined healthcare approach developed between our established South Hills Orthopaedic Surgery Associates, P.C and the newly formed South Hills Sports Medicine and Rehab. 


The summer cover of UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY is sponsored by South Hills Sports Medicine and Rehab, a part of South Hills Orthopaedic Surgery Associates. This feature article about this healthcare organization, with its new home in Siena at St. Clair, intent on helping you stay injury-free and getting you back to your best health first appeared in our summer 2019 issue.

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