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For more than a century, orthopedic surgeons and investigators at Children’s Hospital Boston have played a vital role in the field of musculoskeletal research—with breakthrough treatments and major advances for conditions such as developmental hip dysplasia, scoliosis, polio, tuberculosis and traumas to the hand and upper extremities.
Our pioneering research helps answer the most pressing questions in pediatric orthopedics today—to provide children with the most innovative care available.
In Boston Children’s Orthopedic Center and Child and Young Adult Hip Preservation Program, we take great pride in our basic science and clinical research leaders, who are recognized throughout the world for their achievements. Our orthopedic research team includes:
• full-time basic scientists
• more than 20 clinical investigators
• a team of research coordinators and statisticians
Under the direction of Travis Matheney, MD, Boston Children’s database of orthopedic ER trauma cases—implemented in July, 2010—has begun outcomes research, in which we track/compile orthopedic trauma data, such as:
• type and location of a fracture
• outcome (quality improvement)
• whether the injury required admission to the hospital
• how was the injury initially treated
The information gathered from this ongoing tracking study will further influence how specialists in Boston Children’s Orthopedic Trauma Program care for children by providing accurate, comprehensive tracking and outcomes data.
Some developmental hip conditions can lead to premature arthritis in young adults, with resulting pain and disability. Our research focuses on understanding the pathomechanics (mechanical forces that adversely change the body's structure and function) of these conditions. With better understanding, we can improve existing therapies and develop new therapies for these conditions.
Current and recent studies include the following:
For example, a very common hip condition called femoral acetabular impingement (FAI) is a research topic that Boston Children’s is working on extensively. FAI is a frequent cause of osteoarthritis of the hip. FAI is a jamming that occurs in some hips, resulting in damage to the cartilage.
The most common cause of FAI is a “bump” on the neck of the femur that remains as a result of SCFE. The impingement can be small (causing minor damage) or larger, resulting in arthritis. In a long-term study, our researchers are investigating the effectiveness of removing the bump at the time of surgery.
Since 1991, Children's has performed more than 1,400 Bernese periacetabular osteotomies to correct hip dysplasia in teens and adults, whose hip sockets have finished growing. This large volume makes Boston Children’s the most experienced center in the United States for this procedure—and the second-most experienced in the world.
Boston Children’s is a founding member of the Academic Network of Conservational Hip Outcomes Research (ANCHOR), a collaboration of researchers dedicated to following patients with developmental hip disease. The group now comprises 10 centers in the United States and one in Europe, and enrolls more than 500 patients each year in various studies.
Children’s Orthopedic 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:
• brachial plexus birth palsy
• hip disorders
• spinal disorders
• upper extremity disorders
Ongoing laboratory studies include:
• Basic science studies
• Biomechanical/instrumentation studies
Working in Boston Children’s labs are some of the leading musculoskeletal researchers in the nation. Our labs include:
• Orthopedic basic science research
• Center for the study of genetic skeletal disorders
• Sports Medicine research laboratory
• Matthew Harris laboratory
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”