McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine
faculty member James Kang, MD (pictured), vice chairman of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and director of the Ferguson Laboratory for Orthopaedic and Spine Research, is an international leader in the basic science and clinical treatment of intervertebral disc degeneration. Currently, Dr. Kang is actively involved with an accomplished University of Pittsburgh research team focusing on the biomechanics of the spine. In an ongoing study, embedded metal beads in a patient serve to help researchers develop computer models that predict the precise movements of joints post surgery. The computational, clinical tool may one day enable doctors to predict how individuals’ bones and soft tissue move. Such a tool would help doctors predict who would benefit from surgery, and would help doctors perform surgery more precisely, Dr. Kang said.
As reported in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 1-millimeter tantalum metal beads embedded in a patient’s spine are being measured in her neck and back following separate surgeries. Through 3 D modeling techniques of the bones and soft tissue, the team of researchers will watch what happens in the body during motion. The scientists will track the range of motion in the patient’s spine by using stereo X-ray imaging to determine how the beads are moving. The patient will perform tasks such as turning her head from side to side and flexing and extending her neck while machines capture images of her, Dr. Kang said. The patient said she cannot feel the beads, which are smaller than the head of a pin.
Members of the team have used computer models that simulate bone and soft tissue movement to further understand how wrists and forearms move. Advanced imaging technology has also been used to create a sharper picture of the anterior-cruciate ligament (ACL) to improve ACL surgery. This latter procedure is now used by Freddie Fu, MD, David Silver Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, when evaluating each of his ACL surgical patients.
Illustration: McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (03/02/09)
Bio: Dr. James Kang
Bio: Dr. Freddie Fu