Current Projects & Initiatives

Shoulder & Elbow: Our basic science research is integrated with our world renowned clinical Shoulder, Elbow & Sports Medicine Service. Ongoing projects compare the biomechanical strength of different rotator cuff surgical repair procedures under physiologically relevant conditions of cyclic loading with the goal of improved patient outcomes. Three-dimensional (3D) patient-specific computer models and finite element analyses of patient scapulae and humeri, obtained from CT scans are used to optimize implant choice, placement and fit, while minimizing bone loss. Mechanical testing of rotator cuff tissue from animal models, coupled with histomorphological analysis form the foundation of research evaluating the effects of currently used biological agents to enhance healing and tissue/bone integration of rotator cuff repairs. The clinical relevance of teres minor hypertrophy in rotator cuff tears is being investigated using patient-specific 3D computer models of the rotator cuff muscles obtained from clinical MR scans, coupled with a prospective clinical study. A study comparing a novel polymer cable construct to the currently used metal wire repair technique for fractures of the olecranon of the elbow is underway.

Wrist & Hand: Studies using kinematic analysis and contact pressure measurements evaluate the biomechanical effectiveness of surgical repair procedures for scapholunate disassociation, osteoarthritis of the basilar thumb joint and radial plating techniques on wrist biomechanics. The advantages and disadvantages of proximal row carpectomy (PRC) to scaphoid excision, four-corner fusion (FCF) are being evaluated to help identify patient appropriate surgery. An anatomy based cadaveric study is underway to determine the biomechanical contribution of the oblique rectinacular ligaments of the fingers as a function of finger and hand flexion.

Hip & Knee: In conjunction with Molecular Biomedical Engineering Laboratory, the interrelationship of the mechanobiological mechanisms responsible for hip prosthesis loosening is being investigated at both the biomechanical and molecular levels using an animal model. Different plating techniques for femur fractures are being biomechanically evaluated for multiple loading modalities using equivalent femur models to minimize the effects of variation in cadaveric specimens. Comparative analysis in the amount of slippage and failure load under cyclic loading for five different knee bone-patellar-tendon-bone constructs is currently underway. An animal model is being developed to study the mechanism of cell death in articular cartilage of the knee following blunt trauma injury.

Spine: An anatomical study is underway to describe lumbar facet morphology and the relationship of the lumbar facets to the vertebral pedicles and endplate to determine the optimal starting point for transfacet screw placement and to develop guidelines for insertion.