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UCL Division of Surgery and Interventional Science

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Innovative orthopaedic software unveiled

9 April 2015

Researchers from the Division and Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (RNOH) led by Professor Alister Hart presented innovative new findings in orthopaedic research to over 30,000 stakeholders at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons last week.

Professor Hart’s 10 strong research team presented a total of 24 papers at the back-to-back meetings of the conference, which was held in Las Vegas in March 2015.

The centrepiece of their work is a collaboration with Professor Sebastien Ourselin, Professor of Medical Image Computing at UCL and head of the Translational Imaging Group, a research team of 60 that specialises in state-of-the-art computer software for analysing medical images.

Together, the teams have created software which automatically measures 3D muscle volume using standard MRI scans, and are the first to validate and apply this software to patients with muscle problems. The software was originally developed to measure the volume of cerebral cortex from MRI which has revolutionised clinical trials in dementia by providing a quantifiable measure of brain atrophy.

The software can be used to measure the effect of any intervention on human muscles, such as:

  • What are the best surgical techniques to conserve muscles?
  • Which Pilates techniques are best for strengthening our core muscles?
  • Which artificial legs and rehabilitation techniques are best for injured soldiers?
  • Which sports are best for our muscles?

The team first chose patients with hip problems but will now turn to address problems of the muscles around the spine, shoulder and knee.

You can see the scanner in action here.