October 16, 2009

Orthopaedics Institute joins effort investigating battle-related trauma

Orthopaedics Institute joins effort investigating battle-related trauma

Vanderbilt Orthopaedics Institute has joined 11 other clinical sites in the Extremity Trauma Clinical Research Consortium to conduct research on orthopaedic trauma sustained on the world's battlefields.

The Department of Defense's Orthopaedic Extremity Trauma Research Program will fund the Consortium for $18.4 million over five years.

Approximately 55 percent of all service members injured in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom sustain significant extremity trauma.

“This is a great opportunity to do world class research on orthopaedic trauma that is all too common today,” said Herb Schwartz, M.D., chair of the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation.

“Not only will we be bringing better care to the men and women serving in the military, but we hope many of the discoveries will carry over to the civilian population as well.”

Three studies will begin this month, one of which is led by William

Obremskey, M.D., associate professor and director of Orthopaedic Trauma Resident Education and Clinical Research.

Obremskey's study will evaluate bone grafts following high-energy trauma along with appropriate timing of the grafts.

It will compare what Obremskey calls the “gold standard” of treatment — autograft from the patient's iliac crest — with allograft, or donor bone, combined with a compound called Bone Morphogenic Protein.

Patients will be followed for 12 months to assess factors like pain, infection, functional outcome and medical costs.

“If the bone is not regenerated, an amputation is required, so this is an important issue,” Obremskey said.

“Developing this consortium is one of the most exciting events in orthopaedic trauma research ever. It can be the mechanism of doing multiple quality research projects.”