Friday, March 4, 2011

MGH Orthopaedic Surgeon's Breakthrough Findings Honored with Research Award

Young-Min Kwon, MD, PhD, FRCS, FRACS, an orthopaedic surgeon at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, has been awarded the prestigious Kappa Delta Investigator Award from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) on Wednesday, February 16. Since their inception in 1947, the Kappa Delta Awards are bestowed by the Academy for outstanding research in Orthopaedic surgery that is of the highest significance and impact. It is the highest award in Orthopaedic research in the nation.The award was formally presented by the president of AAOS during the opening ceremony at the Academy’s annual meeting in San Diego.  

Kwon's research, titled "Evidence-Based Approach in Understanding 'Pseudotumors' in Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacements", elucidated mechanisms involved in adverse reactions in metal-on-metal joint replacements, which are commonly used to treat young and active patients with significant hip osteoarthritis.

Although the research showed a 95 percent or greater success rate for these patients, Kwon focused attention on the infrequent complications of these devices. Specifically, he focused on the failures involving abnormal periprosthetic soft-tissue masses, also known as pseudotumors. These complications cause serious damage to local tissue and often require additional extensive corrective surgery.

"As a surgeon-scientist, it is critically important to investigate and gain insights into any unexpected complication that adversely affects patients’ outcome," said Kwon, who has pursued numerous clinical and translational studies investigating adverse metal reactions in patients with metal-on-metal total hip replacements.

Kwon's research concluded that, pseudotumors develop as a reaction to the metal debris that is generated from the wear of metal-on-metal implants. He found that excessive wear of these implants as a result of sub-optimal placement can lead to damage to the soft tissues in susceptible patients.

About Massachusetts General Hospital
Celebrating the 200th anniversary of its founding in 1811, the Massachusetts General Hospital is the oldest and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. Offering sophisticated diagnostic and therapeutic care in virtually every specialty and subspecialty of medicine and surgery, the 907-bed medical center each year admits approximately 47,650 inpatients and handles nearly 1.4 million visits to its extensive outpatient programs, including more than 88,000 emergency visits. The surgical staff performs approximately 38,000 operations annually, and the MGH Vincent Obstetrics Service delivers more than 3,500 babies a year. The largest nongovernment employer in the city of Boston, the MGH has nearly 22,500 employees, including more than 3,700 registered nurses. MGH and Brigham and Women's Hospital are founding members of Partners HealthCare System, a Boston-based integrated health care delivery system, and MGH is consistently ranked among the nation’s top hospitals by US News and World Report.

Mike Morrison, (617) 724-6424,

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