The TIRC was established in 2010 with the vision of conducting translational research aimed at addressing critical challenges in adult reconstructive surgery. Our focus areas include orthopedic implants, surgical technologies/instrumentation and biomaterials.The TIRC collaborates closely with several orthopedic research laboratories at Mass General.
One of our primary focus areas is to build an improved understanding of human joint biomechanics to enable implant designs that can better restore normal joint feel and function. This research area continues to gather momentum with the increased performance demands from rising patient expectations, and expanding use of joint replacement procedures in younger and more active patients.
We utilize state of the art in vivo imaging techniques (CT, MRI and fluoroscopy) to study in vivo mechanics and to create accurate reconstructions of the anatomy for evaluating impact of specific surgical interventions. Advanced biomechanical simulation tools allow us to predict and analyze performance of various implant designs within the human body. Cadaver studies are used for pre-clinical evaluation of new and existing implant designs.
Another focus area is to understand the impact of surgical technologies onthe efficiency and reliability of the surgical procedure, and the clinical outcome.Towards this end we closely collaborate with highly experienced physicians and surgeons in the department. The TIRC team is at the forefront of many new and exciting developments in this arena, including miniaturized surgical navigation systems, and robotically-assisted surgery.
Other areas of research include advancing biomaterials used in joint replacement and repair, and clinical follow-up studies to provide evidence-based feedback to improve surgical outcomes.
Our lab hosts a state-of-the-art high resolution 3D printer for rapid prototyping of orthopaedic devices to evaluate their form, fit, and function. We use a variety of advanced computer-aided design, analysis and biomechanical simulation tools. Additionally, through our collaborating laboratories we have access to various materials characterization tools, heavy duty multi-axis load frames, joint simulators for extended life cycle wear tests, dedicated cadaver testing facility for pre-clinical evaluation, and robotic testing system to simulate biomechanical function in cadaver specimens.
Advanced Knee Replacement Implants – Restoring Normal Feel & Function
Goal of this research project is to improve the design of current knee replacement implants to restore the normal range of motion and normal motion patterns of the knee. This could lead to significant improvement in patients’ quality of life, allowing them to return to activities that are important to their daily lives. Additionally, the improved designs may also lead to increased longevity of the implants, thereby requiring fewer reoperations and revisions.
Fig. 1.Knee motion in a living patient with contemporary knee implant. Motion captured using fluoroscopy.
Fig. 2. Analysis of contact locations and contact areas in the knee of a patient during knee bending activity
The development of these novel implants is based on accurate reconstructions of the normal knee anatomy using MRI and CT imaging. Additionally, we are using low dose X-ray imaging techniques to determine why patient’s knees do not feel normal with current implants, and how their knee motion defers from that of normal subjects (Fig. 1 and 2). This new research knowledge is being incorporated into the design of next generation knee replacement implants. Pre-clinical evaluation of new design concepts are being conducted using a variety of tools, including virtual joint biomechanics simulators that allow for quick evaluation of multiple implant design concepts.