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Knee surgery and rehabilitation in 2013: How is engineering driving improved treatment?

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Engineering has a huge role in developing early interventions to improve the mechanical aspects of repaired tissues, non-surgical interventions, joint realignment and resulting kinematics/loads/strains within the joint, in addition to providing instruments for surgery and measuring functional outcomes.
This conference brings together engineers, clinicians, scientists and industry to address engineering knee replacement and rehabilitation issues and as a platform for the future development of early- and late-stage interventions in the knee.

Current limitations in knee surgery and rehabilitation

Knee surgery is often performed in young patients to repair the damaged part of an otherwise healthy joint, and this is more common in athletes due to their higher functional demands. Interventions can be successful, but as with knee replacement, inferior function of the repaired joint means athletes rarely compete at the same level after surgery, and can have a reduced career post-injury. For non-athletes who have undergone surgical or therapeutic intervention as a result of trauma or malalignment, the journey towards degenerative joint disease is accelerated.

For older patients, partial or total joint replacement are established treatment options and have excellent survival rates, but the impressive rates are not replicated in patient satisfaction as almost half of total knee replacement patients cannot kneel down and stand back up again. Figures like this indicate engineers and surgeons have largely solved the problem of making an implant last a long time in the body, but are some way off restoring the function of the reconstructed joint.

What is limiting the development of new technology, and how can we focus engineering innovation most effectively?

• How can we provide objective measurement for different patient groups and their associated treatment or rehabilitation paradigms? The main diagnostic and outcome measures are based on patient scores and while these are able to find significant difference between pre- and post-op function and/or pain, they lack the resolution to distinguish between competing treatment paradigms.

• How can engineers develop new ways of objectively measuring function and combining any measures with those developed by biologists and clinicians?

• Medical engineering necessarily has strict regulations regarding the release of new technology in order to prove the safety and effectiveness of any treatment. How can we balance the adventure of new technology against the risk to the patient?

Scope of the conference

The conference programme consists of invited lectures and submitted papers. The main programme topics will include, but are not restricted to:

  • Early interventional cartilage repair
  • Soft tissue repair (including ACL reconstruction, meniscectomy, tibial osteotomy)
  • New instrumentation concepts
  • Functional assessment after surgery
  • Long-term surveillance of post-operative performance
  • Experimental testing
  • Partial and total knee replacement
  • New materials and wear
  • Computer simulation (pre-clinical testing, intra-operative planning, surgeon training, probabilistic analyses)
  • Pre- and post-surgery biomechanics
  • Musculoskeletal modelling

Speakers include: 

Professor Scott Tashman, USA
Dr Nicola Phillips, UK
Professor Andrew McCaskie, UK
Professor Tom Andriacchi, USA
Professor Tim Briggs, UK
Professor Peter Verdonk, Belgium
Professor Peter Walker, USA
Professor Gareth Scott, UK
Professor David Barrett, UK
Professor Fares Haddad, UK


November 11, 2013
November 12, 2013


Institution of Mechanical Engineers
1 Birdcage Walk, London, SW1H 9JJ United Kingdom
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