By: 6 March 2014

ITT Dublin conducts research leveraging MTS testing hardware, software and expertise to optimise two common spinal trauma surgery procedures to reduce hospital stays and improve outcomes

A team of postgraduate students at the ITT Dublin Bioengineering Technology Centre (Institute of Technology, Tallaght, South Dublin) is working to better understand the mechanics involved with human spine trauma injuries and two procedures to address them: spinal fracture stabilisation and balloon kyphoplasty. Spinal fracture stabilisation uses screws and rods to mechanically stabilise the spine, and balloon kyphoplasty uses an inflatable balloon and a bone cement injection to rebuild collapsed vertebrae.

As reported by Azo Sensors, the MTS biomedical test system is capable of simulating a full range of motion in spine specimens, giving researchers the precise data they need to better understand, model and test spine biomechanics.

Dr Fiona McEvoy, who founded the Bioengineering Technology Centre, said:  “Being able to carefully choreograph spinal movements in the test lab and correlate those movements with test data is a rare capability, and it makes us a very unique facility. Since the MTS software user experience is so intuitive and test setups are so fast, our students can really get creative and explore multiple approaches.”

Data generated will be used to create finite element analytical computer models that will help to reduce unknowns for spine surgeons prior to surgery.

“When complete, the research will make both procedures more reliant on objective test data, rather than being heavily dependent on the experience of the individual surgeon,” said Bill Hardy, MTS Test Worldwide Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “The insights enabled by our test technology will also allow procedures to be customised to the unique needs of each patient with the goal of better outcomes, faster recoveries and fewer post-surgery complications.”

According to MTS President and CEO Dr Jeffrey Graves, the combined efforts of MTS and ITT Dublin demonstrate MTS’ commitment to working closely with leading biomedical researchers to advance what is possible and positively impact lives. “With so many spinal injuries requiring surgery and long, expensive hospital stays, ITT Dublin’s research has the potential to reduce medical costs and improve the quality of life for people around the world,” Graves said. “We look forward to continuing to help these researchers learn more about spine kinematics and discover new ways to treat spinal trauma more effectively.”