Visiting scholar wins award for research into total hip replacement longevity

Published: 14 January 2008 at 10:29

Stephan shows his metal within Bioengineering Research Group.

A visiting scholar to Anglia Ruskin University’s Bioengineering Research Group has won the Mechatronics award of Upper Austria for a thesis on the subject of total hip replacements.

Stefan Reichl, an undergraduate student from the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, joined the research group for six months to work on a project in computer simulations in Biomechanics as part of his final-year research project.

His research work on the longevity of total hip replacements, under the mentorship of Dr Rajshree Mootanah, Senior Lecturer and LTN Business Fellow, has brought further understanding of the surgical outcomes of using different commercially-available implants.  Stephan’s findings are of particular interest to orthopaedic surgeons and implant manufacturers.  He will be disseminating his research findings at a major international Computational Biomechanics Symposium in February.

Total Hip Replacement has been reported as the most successful surgical procedure in the previous century.  However, long-term studies of cemented total hip replacements have shown that failure often occurs ten years postoperatively and mostly at the bone-cement interface.  As part of the research the anatomy of the hip joint, material properties of bone and bone cement, loading conditions and daily activity profiles of total hip replacement patients were investigated. Anatomically accurate 3D models were created based on CT-scan data.

Stainless steel and titanium were just two of the stem materials that were compared during the research.

Speaking of this new research achievement, Dr Rajshree Mootanah from the Department of Design & Technology said:

“Stefan was a highly motivated, bright and efficient student right from the start. Following only a few training sessions, it became clear to me that he would be ideal for such a research project. The high standard of his work was clearly deserving of such an award.”

Stefan is now a research fellow at Wels University, in Austria, on a funded research project.

He commented:

“Joining the Bioengineering Research group at Anglia Ruskin University was a very exciting experience for me. Working with international colleagues, I learned about different cultures, perspectives and methods of problem solving. As an engineer, I found it very satisfying to know that my work could be used to help people who suffer from hip problems. In my opinion, this mix of engineering and medicine makes a fascinating study.”

“I would recommend international placements to any student who is thinking about it!”

The Bioengineering Research Group has also researched gait analysis and kinetics, pressure-sore prevention and the merging of CT and MRI data in order to produce anatomically correct 3-D models of human joints. The group is equipped with a suite of software for analysing medical image data derived from MRI and CT scans, the production of 3D images of human joints and software for finite element analysis of biomechanical systems.

Anglia Ruskin University has main campus locations at Chelmsford and Cambridge and now delivers higher education courses at Peterborough and King’s Lynn.