Mechanical engineering to help back surgery

A systematic way to predict which patients are most vulnerable to secondary fractures or disc degeneration.

Grace O'Connell, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, heads the project to develop a systematic way to predict which patients are most vulnerable to secondary fractures or disc degeneration following spinal fusion
Grace O'Connell, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, heads the project to develop a systematic way to predict which patients are most vulnerable to secondary fractures or disc degeneration following spinal fusion. (UC Berkeley photo by Elena Zhukova)

Almost half million Americans went for back surgery treat the impacts of circle degeneration, and others experience less basic surgical medicines. A shockingly high level of patients, in the end, require a moment surgery to repair the harm caused by the first. Appraisals of second surgery rates keep running as high as 30 percent.

The reason is regularly material science. Combining circle to treat degeneration changes the heap dissemination in the spine — and includes worry in specific zones. Expanded pressure implies expanded danger of crack.

Grace O’Connell, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at UC Berkeley said, “And there is no systematic way to predict which patients are most vulnerable.”

Now in collaboration with the Signatures Innovation Fellows program, O’Connell and graduate student Bo Yang, scientists are devising a model to help surgeons determine an individual patient’s added risk and the best surgical strategy to reduce the risk. Their model intends to anticipate increments in worries in the contiguous plate following combination by utilizing a patient’s CT or MRI examines.

They are also observing patient spine images and surgical results to help improve the algorithm that will allow surgeons to predict post-surgery fracture risk based on an individual patient’s spine alignment.

O’Connell said, “The Signatures Innovation Fellows program aids the potential business end of the project in practical ways. In addition to consulting with venture capitalists, she and Yang are getting help reaching out to insurance companies in order to learn how they make decisions on reimbursements for new medical technologies.”

“Getting the technology into the real world could fill a need that surgeons readily recognize.”

“Surgeons agree that there are many variables that affect surgical success. For us to help them with two or three or four of those is a huge step.”