Research and Innovation

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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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For kids with cerebral palsy, quality of life is paramount

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Giving kids a better quality of life means giving them the best care possible. “All of us (physicians) in the program have an ongoing dialogue about each individual patient, and those combined perspectives help provide much more comprehensive, well-rounded care,” says Benjamin Shore, MD, orthopedic surgeon at Boston Children’s CP Program. “Plus, we make sure the patient can see multiple doctors on the same day, so they can spend less time at the hospital—which all kids like.”

Read more about the comprehensive care and treatment offered by the Cerebral Palsy Program

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Can shoes help monitor toe-walking in children who have CP?

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Boston Children's and the Motional Analysis Lab at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital are investigating an innovative in-shoe device that can help monitor toe-walking, which can increase a child’s risk of falling.

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Does it get better? 

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Children with cerebral palsy can experience difficulties in communication and movement. Those with the most severe forms sometimes undergo reconstructive surgery on their hips and spine to correct dislocations or scoliosis. But do these operations actually improve quality of life? With a Patient Services Research Grant, Rachel DiFazio investigates.

Read the full story in Children's Vector blog.

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Measuring surgical outcomes

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Boston Children's researchers are using PEDI-CAT, an outcome tool used to measure impact and improvement of function on daily performance before and after surgeries.

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Collaborating to build robotic clothing for children with CP

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Countless scientific epiphanies never leave the bench – unless there’s the kind of serendipitous encounter that set Boston Children's Hospital psychologist Gene Goldfield on a path he never expected to follow.

One in eight babies are born prematurely, putting them at greater risk for cerebral palsy, an inability to fully control their muscles. Goldfield saw these children being wheeled around the hospital, and was convinced that they did not have to be wheelchair-bound.

During early infancy, he knew, the developing brain naturally undergoes a rewiring of its circuits, including those that control the muscles. Could some type of early intervention encourage more typical motor development by replacing damaged circuits with more functional connections?

At Boston Children’s Innovators’ Forum, Goldfield discussed his envisioned solution: the use of programmable robots to promote new brain connectivity and improve mobility.

Read the full story in Children's Vector blog

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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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