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Research at Mass General
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.
Dr. Orhun K. Muratoglu is the Director of the Harris Orthopaedic Laboratory and Director of the Technology Implementation Research Center (TIRC) at Massachusetts General Hospital, Alan Gerry Scholar at MGH, and Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Harvard Medical School.
He received his B.S. from Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute in Materials Science and completed his doctoral work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Program for Polymer Science and Technology. Dr. Muratoglu played a key role in the discovery of highly crosslinked UHMWPE, a more wear-resistant polymeric material for load-bearing applications in total joints. He also pioneered the use of the antioxidant vitamin E to further stabilize the highly cross-linked UHMWPE. Medical implants fabricated using technologies developed by Dr. Muratoglu have been in clinical use since 1998 with over 7 million implantations worldwide. Dr. Muratoglu continues his research on UHMWPE, and infection and pain management technologies in total joints. He also directs research in the design of more functional joint implants at the TIRC.
Dr. Varadarajan received his doctoral degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in Mechanical Engineering. Currently he is the Assistant Director for the Technology Implementation Research Center (TIRC) at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and Instructor in orthopedic surgery at the Harvard Medical School.
At the TIRC, he leads a number of translational research projects aimed at addressing critical challenges in reconstructive surgery through development of better implant designs, and surgical tools. His areas of expertise include human joint biomechanics, computational design, computational analysis pre-clinical testing, and technology development.
Dr. Varadarajan holds over 15 US and international patents related to technologies he has developed through his research at MGH/MIT. He has written chapters on knee joint biomechanics and total knee implant designs for the past two editions of the Orthopaedic Knowledge Update, published by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. His research has also resulted in 80+ presentations at national / international conferences, and 23 peer-reviewed journal articles.
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.
Technology Implementation Research Center
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