Biomedical Engineering Center

A Fully Integrated Laboratory Applying Modern Tools and Quantitative Analyses to Orthopaedic Research

Orthopaedic Device Retrieval Program
Actively tracking >19,000 orthopaedic devices.

Today’s orthopaedic research facility at DBEC is a collaborative, interdisciplinary effort that combines materials research, engineering design, biomechanical assessment and modeling, and orthopaedic implant evaluation in an interactive teaching environment.

Retrieval Analysis Failure Analysis Bio-mechanics Material Behavior Bearing Function New Materials New Devices

Dartmouth Biomedical Engineering Center for Orthopaedics

As  the  orthopedic industry  has matured in the past 35 years,  DBEC has been in a position to continually assess new technologies and designs.  In  many  cases,  product  development  has  been  driven  by  rapid  technological  changes, often oriented toward product differentiation in the marketplace.  On occasion,  these  rapid technological changes have led to significant technical problems with medical devices in the past.  While orthopaedic  manufacturers are required to file Medical Device Reports (MDR's) for all retrieved devices that are known to them,  manufacturers are  generally not in a position to proactively seek to evaluate retrieved devices.  As a result, unforeseen detrimental impacts may be discovered sometime  later,  after  broad  use  and  a  significant  period  of  application.  Consequently,  academic  retrieval laboratories exist as sentinels in an effort to detect device failures prior to widespread harm to patients.

Today’s  orthopaedic  research  facility  at  DBEC is a collaborative,  interdisciplinary effort that combines materials research,  engineering design, biomechanical  assessment  and modeling,  and orthopaedic implant evaluation in an interactive teaching environment.  Each retrieved device is examined  visually,  photographed,  and  rated  for  clinical  damage.  Additional  material - specific testing  is done to assess and understand the observed changes in the devices that occur in vivo.  The response of biomaterials to patient demands reveals strengths and weaknesses of both the  materials  themselves  and the design of the components in which they are used.  The insights generated through formal assessment of the changes  in these materials and devices provide the means to attain our primary goal of improving patient outcomes.  Device analysis motivates our  basic  science  program  in  tribology,  materials processing, corrosion, metallurgy, biomechanical analysis, and modeling.  The basic science programs inform new material development and novel device design.