Orthopedic Research

The Department of Orthopedic Surgery at HCMC is committed to supporting and producing valuable research for the purposes of improving the care of our patients, as well as adding to the knowledge base within the global orthopaedic community.

Orthopedics Staff with Patient Knee Photo

We currently have active research studies involving retrospective, translational, and clinical outcomes research in the areas of trauma, reconstructive surgery, pain control, rehabilitation therapies and many others. The orthopedic department has a dedicated and experienced research staff in addition to a constant inflow of medical students, residents, and research fellows that help maintain the volume and quality of research that HCMC strives for. We hope to continue to grow our research department as the nature and landscape of health care evolves into a more evidence-based approach.

The department of Orthopedic Surgery is privileged to be a core site for the Major Extremity Trauma Research Consortium (METRC). METRC was established in 2009 with funding from the Department of Defense (DOD). It consists of a network of Level-1 trauma centers throughout the country that work along with the DOD to design and conduct multi-center clinical research studies relevant to the treatment and outcomes of orthopaedic trauma sustained in the military. The overall goal of the consortium is to produce the evidence needed to establish treatment guidelines for the optimal care of the wounded warrior and ultimately improve the clinical, functional and quality of life outcomes of both service members and civilians who sustain high energy trauma to the extremities.

HCMC Registered with the American Joint Replacement Registry

Hennepin County Medical Center has taken an added step toward improving patient experiences by joining the American Joint Replacement Registry, an independent, not-for-profit database designed to store comprehensive data about joint replacement procedures.

Minnesota Medical Research Foundation

The Minnesota Medical Research Foundation operates as the research arm of Hennepin County Medical Center. Researchers are practicing physicians and medical professionals. They use their impressive medical backgrounds to advance medical knowledge and improve patient care.

Orthopedic researchers study the musculoskeletal system and its problems. This work is conducted in the Orthopaedic Biomechanics Research Laboratory under the direction of Joan Bechtold, PhD. The mission of the lab is to develop improved treatments and orthopaedic devices that are practical and have an immediate impact on patients’ lives. For more information about our orthopedic research, access the Minnesota Medical Research Foundation website.

Excelen Center for Bone & Joint Research and Education

Pre-clinical orthopedic research concentrates on areas where (a) bone healing is impaired (in presence of comorbidities such as infection, smoking or repeat surgeries), (b) robust clinical solutions do not exist, or (c) areas where new technology and implants are being developed.

NIH funding supports work to improve fixation (and longevity) of joint replacement implants, and evaluates iPS stem cells in fracture healing. DoD funding supports work intended to improve ability to prevent and treat bone and soft tissue infections. A recent study supported by the Orthopaedic Trauma Association evaluated silver coating on intramedullary nails in an infected fracture model.

Excelen’s biomechanics lab works with collaborators worldwide, most recently working with an Australian group to evaluate a new spine fixation method, and with engineers and graduate students from Colorado on pairing experimental data (Excelen) with computational data (Colorado) for humerus fracture fixation constructs.

The unique capabilities of Excelen’s six degree of freedom load and motion system provide the ability to subject a device or spine to motions and loading reflecting activities of daily living, and to precisely measure the stability gained with spinal instrumentation. MicroCT is used to evaluate implant subsidence following loading, in a partnership with the University of Minnesota.

With Excelen’s surgical skills simulation laboratory, OMeGA is funding a study evaluating orthopedic resident surgical competency. This is carried out in a combined surgical procedure observational grading and biomechanical quantitative evaluation of the stability of the student’s surgical repair.

For more information about Excelen's research, visit the Excelen Center for Bone & Joint Research and Education website.

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