John Scales Centre for Biomedical Engineering

John Scales Centre for Biomedical Engineering


Director: Prof. Gordon Blunn

Current areas of research include:

Development of bone tumour implants

This includes both design and clinical follow-up. The most important has been the development of extendible prostheses to treat young patients where their epiphyseal growth plates have been resected due to tumour. Currently these implants are extended by minimally invasive surgery but a non-invasive implant will be inserted into a patient next year.

Of considerable importance is the way that these implants interact with the skeleton and the Centre has investigated different ways of fixing these implants to the bone. Over the last 5 years, all of these have been investigated experimentally and these new methods of fixation are being used in clinical practice.

Advances in the fixation of standard total joint arthroplasty

Fixation of standard joint replacements still remains a problem in certain cases, such as for patients requiring revision operations and where implants are inserted into young patients.

The major strength of the Institute has been related to the biomedical engineering research in relation to joint replacement prostheses. This expertise originated in development of synthetic prosthetic components for standard, custom and massive joint replacements. The requirements for improved design and osseomechanical integration of these implants was and is driven by increases in longevity, age related skeletal degeneration and the improved management of skeletal neoplasia.

The research programme in this area has expanded in relation to the requirements in expertise in different disciplines. For example biomaterials, telemetry and implantable motors for "growing prostheses use in children, cell biology (including use of stem cells), specialised morphometry and histopathology.

Computer modelling, in vivo models and clinical trials.

This area of research will incorporate all these disciplines in a comprehensive approach toward biological replacement or regeneration of synovial joints and integration of implants with skeletal structures. Assessment of functionality of the improved implants will be linked to the recent inclusion of the comparative biomechanics of movement unit in the Centre for Human Performance.

Telemetry of forces in vivo from joint replacement implants

Data on forces applied across joints in the body are needed to know how to better design and test implants, define rehabilitation regimes, and provide basic data for other biomechanics studies. Forces can be measured directly during a variety of activities using instrumented implants, in which subjects are supplied with implants modified to enclose strain gauges and signal conditioning circuitry. Power is supplied to, and data are telemetered from, the implants by inductive coupling and a radio link. In previous studies to discover how forces applied to implants are distributed to the supporting bone, 4 subjects requiring large femoral implants for bone tumour replacement were supplied with instrumented implants, and each followed up over 2 years to monitor load transmission.

Page last modified on 06 nov 12 14:42