Imagine a world where orthopedic surgeries and rehabilitation procedures are custom tailored to the patient, similar to how suits can be custom tailored to the business executive. Rather than basing treatment decisions on population studies or crude anatomic measurements, clinicians use patient-specific computer models to develop personalized treatment approaches. These models are created from movement data collected from the patient prior to treatment and utilize state-of-the-art imaging, computational, and simulation technologies. By performing virtual treatments on the personalized computer model, clinicians can customize the surgical parameters or rehabilitation procedures under consideration to optimize treatment outcome. The end result is millions of patients whose quality of life is greatly improved through these technologies.
The goal of the Computational Biomechanics Lab at the University of Florida is to make this futuristic scenario a reality. Our current research focus is on clinical problems related to knee osteoarthritis, with current projects involving 1) virtual prototyping of artificial knee designs to improve longevity and functionality, 2) simulation-based gait retraining and surgical planning to slow the progression of knee osteoarthritis, and 3) surrogate modeling of knee contact mechanics to permit large-scale dynamic human movement simulations with multiple deformable joints. The primary engineering technologies involved in these projects are multibody dynamics, optimization, and elastic contact theory.