Tag Archives: pediatric orthopedics

West Texas A&M Students Help Design New Prosthetic

Young, energetic students at West Texas A&M are making great steps forward in both their chosen field of engineering and in helping their fellow Texans.  A group of four students spent a full semester working on a prosthetic hand designed for patients with Symbrachydactyly (a common hand and foot disorder).

The Idea

TSRHC collaborated with West Texas A&M engineering professor, Dr. Emily Hunt, with the idea of designing a new prosthetic hand.  Guided by Dr. Dwight Putnam of Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, the students took up the project eagerly and were aided through this special project by Dr. Hunt and her 10-year-old daughter Aly who has Symbrachydactyly.

The Design

TSRHC Pediatric Orthopedics

The base design came from a prosthetist from South Africa who posted the design online for any who wished to download for free.  From there, the students worked the design carefully, using common tools including bungee cords, fishing line, and a 3-D printer.  Aly tested drafts of the design and gave the students feedback, helping them understand the needs and preferences of the patients who will actually use the prosthetic.

The design functions through simple muscle movement.  When Aly bends her wrist, the fingers close, when she straightens it, the fingers open.  Aly said it is easy to use and finds it very helpful.  What is even more impressive is that the hand can be produced for a mere $15!

The Human Element

The West Texas A&M students who worked on the project said it was a truly unique and inspiring project.  Engineering students rarely get to work on something that has such a significant impact on actual people with specific needs.

Working with the hospital, Dr. Hunt, and Aly, added a human element that increased the value and importance of their work.  Receiving instant patient feedback and suggestions helped them identify problems, improve the design, and ultimately become more successful engineers.  It was an experience they aren’t likely to forget and their work is sure to bless the lives of thousands of patients to come.

Photo Credit: Sean Steffen – Amarillo Globe News

TSRHC Leads the Charge on Perthes Disease Research

While TSRHC is known across the globe for its excellence in pediatric orthopaedics, it is also recognized for groundbreaking research. The studies TSRHC staff participate in allow physicians worldwide to better understand various orthopaedic conditions.

One particular research study focuses on Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease (LCPD), a condition that affects the femoral head or the “ball” part of the hip joint. In Perthes Disease, the blood supply to the femoral head is disrupted and all or part of the femoral head dies from the lack of blood flow.

A History of Research

Twenty years ago, Tony Herring, M.D., started a large, prospective multi-center study with the purpose of understanding the outcomes of pediatric patients with Perthes Disease. Participating institutions treated patients with five different methods: non-surgical treatment, which included bracing and physical therapy; surgical treatment, which included femoral or pelvic osteotomy; and observation. Herring and his colleagues published their findings in the 2004 Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

Herring, along with Dan Sucato, M.D., M.S., led the efforts to invite the patients from the study who were treated non-operatively back to TSRHC for a clinical, radiographic and functional evaluation.

“The results of this study gave us the unique opportunity to review the long-term outcomes of patients who were treated with non-operative intervention. We found that the majority of these patients complained of increasing pain and dysfunction. This was the first study to document these findings at 20-year follow-up,” said Sucato. These results were published last year in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

Sucato was recently awarded the Angela Kuo Memorial Award, a $30,000 grant, from the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America (POSNA) at the 2013 POSNA Annual Meeting. This grant will be used to fund the third part of this study, which will review the clinical, functional and radiographic outcomes of patients originally treated with surgery. At this time, 18 patients from across the nation have participated in the follow-up study.

Follow-up Study for the Future

One of these patients, Jaclyn Davidson, age 30, recently visited TSRHC for an evaluation with Sucato and Harry Kim, M.D., M.S. Davidson was originally treated with pelvic surgery when she was 7 years old.

“Having the opportunity to evaluate patients like Ms. Davidson after 20 years of follow-up allows us to keep learning about the long-term effects of treatment patterns for Perthes Disease. We are grateful for their time and efforts. The results of this data will help us improve treatments for our current patients with Perthes Disease,” Sucato noted.

As the study moves forward, TSRHC staff will continue to learn more about the condition and how to better treat patients who are affected by it.

To learn more about the disease and the multicenter study research for current patients with Perthes Disease happening at TSRHC, please visit: www.perthesdisease.org.