Abstract: Bone fracture healing is a mechanoregulated process that gradually restores the mechanical integrity of an injured bone by forming an adaptive, functionally graded new material called callus at the fracture line. In humans, the recovery process after a bone fracture usually lasts at least several months. However, in some patients, healing does not proceed successfully after the first surgery, resulting in a condition called nonunion. Nonunions are notoriously difficult to treat, in part because diagnosis requires subjective assessment of clinical signs and the visual appearance of callus on X-rays. Early diagnosis could transform nonunion care, but due to the lack of definitive biomarkers for failed healing, most patients wait at least 6-9 months before receiving an intervention. To address this clinical need, we have developed a technique for measuring what really matters in bone healing—the mechanical integrity of the healing bone—using subject-specific finite element models built from low-dose computed tomography (CT) scans. In this seminar, Dr. Dailey will describe how the techniques for virtual mechanical testing were developed and validated in ovine tibial osteotomy models. She will also present case studies of clinical application, where we have successfully used virtual mechanical tests to detect delayed healing of tibial fractures and structurally insufficient bone formation associated with comorbidities such as smoking.
Biography: Hannah Dailey is an Assistant Professor in the department of Mechanical Engineering & Mechanics at Lehigh University. Her research interests include computational and experimental biomechanics of fracture fixation and bone healing, fracture nonunion, and mechanics of tissues and biomaterials. Her research group emphasizes imaging-driven engineering approaches to clinical problems in orthopaedics and collaborates with surgeons and veterinarians in hospitals across the US and Europe. She is an NSF CAREER Award winner and has received research funding from the Orthopaedic Trauma Association. She also serves as co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of OrthoXel, DAC, an Irish-based orthopaedic device company.
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