'TomTom' for human body: TLEMsafe to assist surgeons with reconstructive surgery

January 26, 2010

Dutch researchers from the University of Twente's MIRA research institute, UMC St Radboud and various other institutions have developed a highly detailed computer model of the musculoskeletal system of the lower half of the human body. Surgeons can use this model to enhance their preparations for surgery, and even to "practice" these procedures in advance, using Virtual Reality. The model can be personalized for individual patients. The researchers recently received a European grant of 3 million euros for the development work.

Hip prosthesis revision surgery and operations to remove tumours can involve the loss of parts of bones or muscles. In such cases, muscles are sometimes repositioned to enhance the patient's functional abilities. When deciding exactly where to connect these muscles, surgeons usually rely on their intuition and experience. There are currently no suitable models capable of accurately predicting how the will function following surgery or rehabilitation. In many cases, it is unclear whether the patient will still be able to walk normally after surgery.

Researchers from the University of Twente and various other institutions are currently developing a model that can accurately calculate the best place to connect the muscle and the best way in which to do so. MRI scans are used to personalize the model, creating a unique model for each specific patient. By using these personalized models in a , surgeons are better able to plan surgical procedures in advance. The system can autonomously select the optimum site for muscle connection. It can also predict the consequences of specific choices. If so required, surgeons can even simulate entire operations in advance using a environment.

The is linked to an automated navigation system that is used during surgery. This ensures that the site selected by the system as the optimal location for muscle attachment can actually be used in the patient in question. The researchers compare this system to a satnav system. The system shows the surgeon exactly how certain muscles should be relocated in order to optimize the patient's musculoskeletal system.

According to the researchers, this system could benefit several hundred patients undergoing relatively major surgery in the Netherlands each year.

According to Prof. Nico Verdonschot and Prof. Bart Koopman, who are both members of the research team, the strength of the underlying musculoskeletal model lies in its accuracy, which is approximately five times greater than that of existing models. Uniquely, the system is based on a single, consistent dataset. This means that the body of a single individual is used as a basis (while existing models are composed of parts of different bodies). The fine detail of this individual's muscles, bones, tendons and attachments is mapped and digitized. As stated, the model is based on a consistent data set. However, an is used to personalize the model for each patient, creating a model that is unique to the individual in question.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Female researchers pay more attention to sex and gender in medicine

November 7, 2017
When women participate in a medical research paper, that research is more likely to take into account the differences between the way men and women react to diseases and treatments, according to a new study by Stanford researchers.

Drug therapy from lethal bacteria could reduce kidney transplant rejection

August 3, 2017
An experimental treatment derived from a potentially deadly microorganism may provide lifesaving help for kidney transplant patients, according to an international study led by investigators at Cedars-Sinai.

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

Team eradicates hepatitis C in 10 patients following lifesaving transplants from infected donors

April 30, 2017
Ten patients at Penn Medicine have been cured of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) following lifesaving kidney transplants from deceased donors who were infected with the disease. The findings point to new strategies for increasing ...

'bench to bedside to bench': Scientists call for closer basic-clinical collaborations

March 24, 2017
In the era of genome sequencing, it's time to update the old "bench-to-bedside" shorthand for how basic research discoveries inform clinical practice, researchers from The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), National Human Genome Research ...

The ethics of tracking athletes' biometric data

January 18, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—Whether it is a FitBit or a heart rate monitor, biometric technologies have become household devices. Professional sports leagues use some of the most technologically advanced biodata tracking systems to ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.