Bioengineering Technology Centre
The Bioengineering Technology Centre (BTC) was formed in 2008 and carries out research with consultant orthopaedic surgeons in four hospitals. Currently the centre is focusing on spinal research.Two of the major reasons for spinal surgery are: trauma patients with fractured or crushed vertebrae, and spinal deformities such as scoliosis (curvature of the spine).
Surgery aims to reduce the spinal deformity associated with scoliosis and prevent further progression of the deformity. Research in the BTC is focused on creating a representative synthetic model of a patient specific paediatric spine to aid in the planning and optimisation of surgery. We are also investigating the biomechanical forces needed to optimise the curvature of the spine.
Trauma & Fracture of Vertebra
Treating fractures of the spine is a major challenge for the medical community both within Ireland and internationally (~700,000 fractures occur per annum in US, twice the number of hip fractures). Techniques for treating these fractures have developed from the days of simple bed rest through to the intricacy of modern minimally invasive surgery.
The BTC is currently investigating ways of reproducing burst fractures and the repair of these fractures using a minimally invasive technique known as Balloon Kyphoplasty. The procedure uses an inflatable balloon to decompress the collapsed vertebra which is then stabilised by injecting bone cement into the void created by the balloon. The BTC is also conducting research on spondylolysis; a fatigue stress fracture of the pars interarticularis.
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