The UTMB Orthopaedic Biomechanics Laboratory is devoted to the
advancement of clinical care by continuously seeking improved
knowledge of musculoskeletal function. The research goals of the lab
include enhanced clinical methods through the design and use of new
measurement tools for analysis of in vivo biomechanics function.
Laboratory research projects focus upon the time honored study of
fresh cadaver mechanics augmented with correlative studies using
improved structures derived from medical imaging. Results of
clinical methods and laboratory studies provide the requisite
analytical detail to develop mathematical and computer simulation of
the musculoskeletal system. This simulation is a major effort which
will culminate in a real time, interactive, 3 dimensional computer
graphics model of the human body. The simulation has direct
research, educational, and clinical applications in all orthopaedic
The strengths of the Orthopaedic Biomechanics Laboratory are best
understood when looking at the personnel and what they have
accomplished with available resources. While individuals have
demonstrated significant success, the success came as a result of a
genuine team approach to collaborative research. This group effort
is enhanced and augmented by the pervading cooperative ambiance of
UTMB and by the thrust of the Orthopaedic leadership.
The Orthopaedic Biomechanics Laboratory is housed in new
facilities (2004) within the Rebecca Sealy Hospital at UTMB. The
lab is in close proximity to the orthopaedic clinics and the main
orthopaedics department. The workspace consists of several
laboratories, an electronics shop, the
Physiology Laboratory, and the accompanying staff offices
and student workstations.
The "wet" lab is primarily for anatomy and physiology studies
using fresh frozen and embalmed cadaver specimens. The lab
includes a walk-in -4 degree C freezer with an adjoining cold
room. Thus, we can perform anatomy studies on many specimens and
are equipped to measure many physiological functions and variables
such as joint pressure, range of motion, moment arms, tendon force
and tendon excursion, to name a few.
The materials testing and biomechanics lab is equipped with a
biaxial MTS® 858 Mini-Bionix materials testing machine. The Mini-Bionix
is a computer controlled, servohydraulic system capable of
measuring axial forces up to 10,000N and torsional forces up to
100Nm. Axial and rotational displacement can also be measured and
there are attachments for measuring strain, as well. This system
gives us the ability to test some of the smallest tissues such as
interosseous membranes, tendons and ligaments, joint systems and
large bones like the femur and spine.
The motion analysis lab is equipped for the performance of
kinematic studies, both is cadaver specimens and living subjects.
The system, from Motion Analysis Corp., consists of 6 CCD analog
cameras, monitor bank, 4 calibration analogs and the most up to date
kinematic analysis software. With this setup we can record motion
in cadaver specimens at the joint level, physiologic movement in
live subjects, and simple gait analysis. An important addition to
our motion study capabilities is an 8-channel portable EMG
(electromyography) system and a 4-channel research EMG system.
There is also laboratory space near the Pediatric Orthopaedic
Division in the Children's Hospital that contains a wet lab with an
older uniaxial MTS materials testing system, and a machine shop
which houses a milling machine, lathe, drill press, band saw, and
other fabrication equipment essential to biomechanics research
support. Additional shop facilities are available elsewhere at UTMB
and can be accessed as necessary.
Research from the Orthopaedic Biomechanics Laboratory has been
presented in many peer-reviewed journals, proceedings, and research
presentations at local, national, and international conferences.