Orthopedic Research

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For more than a century, orthopedic surgeons and investigators at Boston Children's Hospital have played a vital role in the field of musculoskeletal research, pioneering treatment approaches and major advances in the care and treatment of ailments such as scoliosis, polio, tuberculosis, hip dysplasias and traumas to the hand and upper extremities.

Our pioneering research helps answer the most pressing questions in pediatric orthopedics today—providing children with the most innovative care available.

The Orthopedic Center takes great pride in our basic science and clinical research leaders, who are recognized throughout the world for their respective achievements. Our orthopedic research team includes

  • five full-time basic scientists
  • 28 clinical investigators
  • a team of research coordinators and statisticians

Clinical Effectiveness Research Center

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The Clinical Effectiveness Research Center (CERC) helps coordinate research and clinical trials to improve the quality of life for children with musculoskeletal disorders. This collaborative clinical research program is unique in the nation and plays an instrumental role in establishing—for the first time—evidence-based standards of care for pediatric orthopedic patients throughout the world.

Major areas of focus for the CERC include

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Orthopedic Basic Science Laboratories

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Working in our basic science laboratories are some of the leading musculoskeletal researchers in the nation. Our orthopedic labs include

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Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital identify a genetic cause for CLOVES, a rare but debilitating overgrowth and malformation syndrome

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Discovery opens doors to targeted therapeutic development and to understanding other, similar disorders

Using advanced technologies for rapidly sequencing and analyzing DNA from clinical and pathologic samples, a multidisciplinary research team consisting of geneticists, pathologists and surgeons at Boston Children's Hospital has identified the genetic basis for CLOVES syndrome, a rare congenital malformation and overgrowth disorder.

Read full story...

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Publications and Presentations

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A recent article, published in the February issue of Arthroscopy, from the Boston Children's Hospital Orthopedic Center labs reported biomechanical outcomes after "bioenhanced ACL repair and ACL reconstruction are equal in a porcine model".

Senior author, Martha Murray, MD, is excited about this study as it demonstrated, for the first time, that in a head-to-head competition, the two techniques had similar results after three months of healing in a skeletally immature animal model. This provides hope that someday bioenhanced primary ACL repair - a technique pioneered at Children's - might become a clinically useful procedure.

In 2012, our clinical and research staff authored 83 papers in peer review publications, contributed to 35 books and book chapters, and presented over 99 times at national meetings.

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Clinical Innovation: a better way to repair ACL tears

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Orthopedic surgeon and researcher, Martha Murray, MD, is developing ways to stimulate the healing of a patient's own ACL, rather than replacing it. After most ligament tears, a blood clot forms, providing a temporary bridge that cells can crawl onto to begin the healing process. But in ACL injuries, fluid inside the knee joint dissolves the clot, so this bridge never forms.

Learn how Dr. Murray and her team developed a mixture of collagen hydrogel and platelet-rich blood plasma that could facilitate ACL healing and developed surgical devices for this procedure.

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Ligament Healing AAOS Now Podcast

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Dr. Martha Murray use of platelet-derived factors and scaffolds for ligament healing, in this two-part podcast presented by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

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The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO
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