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Hand & Wrist

Dr. Smerlis grew up in the small town of Damascus, Maryland, where his father was a local dentist. As a child, he would help his dad on various projects as the “go for.” These experiences tinkering with tools evolved into a passion working with his hands. Growing up in a small town, he appreciated the relationships his father developed with patients and wanted to pursue a similar career. With the encouragement of his parents, he decided not to follow his father’s footsteps and instead, pursue a career in medicine. He felt surgery would challenge him to push the foundation set by his father. During medical school, he worked with an established hand surgeon at the Veterans Administration Hospital and loved the anatomy and technical demands of hand surgery. As well, the camaraderie of orthopaedics drove him to this specialty. Upon completion of fellowship training, he moved his family to Hampton Roads in 2007 to join Tidewater Orthopaedics to build a subspecialty practice in hand surgery. Today, Tidewater Hand Specialists serve the Virginia Peninsula with the only two board-certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, orthopaedic surgeons with further subspecialty certification in hand surgery.

In his free time, Dr. Smerlis enjoys spending time with his wife, Maureen, and their two children, Nicholas and Alexis. Aside from watching the kids play sports, he enjoys playing Xbox with his son and taking his daughter to horseback riding lessons. Since an early age, he has loved snow skiing and even worked one year at Vail loading chairs and skiing 100 days that season. His family has grown to love the sport too. Dr. Smerlis continues to hone his skills with various projects around the house.


  • 2006 – 2007
    Wake Forest University
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Hand Surgery Fellowship
  • 2001 – 2006
    University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry
    Rochester, NY
    Orthopaedic Surgery Residency
  • 2001
    University of Maryland School of Medicine
    Baltimore, MD
    Doctor of Medicine
  • 1996
    Johns Hopkins University
    Baltimore, MD
    Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering

Professional Licenses and Certifications 

  • Commonwealth of Virginia Board of Medicine (Oct. 2006)
  • Subspecialty Certificate in Surgery of the Hand (9/13/10)
  • American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (7/23/09)

Professional Societies

  • American Academy of Orthopaedics Surgeons, Fellow
  • American Society for Surgery of the Hand, Active Member

Hospital Affiliations

  • Orthopaedic Hospital at Sentara CarePlex
  • CarePlex Orthopaedic Ambulatory Surgery Center (COASC)
  • Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center
  • Geddy Ambulatory Surgery Center

Awards and Achievements

  • Voted Top Orthopaedic Surgeon by Coastal Virginia Magazine, 2016, 2017
  • Summa Cum Laude, University of Maryland School of Medicine
  • Alpha Omega Alpha, Honor Medical Society
  • The Richard J. Johns Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement
  • Tau Beta Pi, The National Engineering Honor Society

Other Activities

  • Combined Accelerated Program in Psychiatry (Sept. 1997 – May 2001)
  • Vail Associates, Lift Operator (Nov. 1996 – April 1997)
  • Sigma Alpha Mu Fraternity, Delta Epsilon Chapter (Sept. 1993 – Present)


  • Chloros GD, Smerlis NA et al. Noninvasive Evaluation of Upper Extremity Perfusion. Journal of Hand Surgery 33(4): April 2008.
  • Tomaino MM, Smerlis N. Ligament Reconstruction in Thumb Basal Joint Arthroplasty. Orthopaedic Knowledge Online 5(3): March 2007.


  • Eastern Orthopaedic Association: Arthroscopic Resection of Dorsal Ganglia 2004

Research Experience

  • University of Rochester (Jan. 2004 – May 2006)
    American Society for Surgery of the Hand
    Basic Science Research Grant
    Gene therapy in peripheral nerve repair: Can a conduit deliver a vector?
  • Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (May 1996 – Oct. 1996)
    Tested techniques to induce DNA condensation on silicone wafers
  • Biomedical Instrumentation (Sept. 1995 – Dec. 1995)
    Developed a device to detect saccades in a smooth pursuit test
  • National Cancer Institute (Summers 1992 – Jan. 1995)
    Worked on murine models investigating regulation of hematopoiesis

Top Docs of 2016

Congratulations to our Top Docs 2016.

Dr. Colin Kingston, Dr. Robert Campolattaro, Dr. Nicholas Smerlis, Dr. Nicholas Sablan & Dr....

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Lecture

Join us in our Hampton office for a lecture presented by Dr. Nicholas Smerlis and learn about the diagnosis and treatment of Carpal Tunnel...

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– Cathy R.