Spinal products with good designs and multi-functionality need thorough evaluations to be optimized. We provide extensive analyses of the products. Medical devices need to be tested mechanically in order to be implemented and for marketing of the products with scientific data. Our laboratory aims to conduct these mechanical tests in order to evaluate the short-term and long-term efficiency of these products. With engineers and neurosurgeons working closely, we are able to establish a clinical relevance in an engineering perspective of the products. Funding from this kind of work comes primarily from the spine industry. The industry-based research projects are a good hands-on learning experience for neurological residents, graduate students, medical students, and trainees.
In Vitro Biomechanical Testing: The Spine Biomechanics Laboratory primarily deals with in vitro biomechanical testing of the spine in order to evaluate medical devices. Motion, stiffness, strength, fatigue, and other such biomechanical parameters are obtained from cadaver studies.
The objectives of this laboratory are:
- To undertake research funded by national and corporate agencies, with the objective of improving human conditions
- To work with other departments, and clinical and research facilities to improve the understanding of health science
- Provide a state-of-the-art research facility for graduate student education that will assist in the development of products
The laboratory for spine research is located in the Cancer Center Building in the Rutgers campus in Newark. The Cancer Center is a state-of-the-art, newly constructed building, specifically dedicated to research facilities.
The equipment available for research at the Biomechanics laboratory are described below.
OptoTRAK Certus: Optotrak technology is the premier choice of industry, universities and research institutions around the world. Built with the superior accuracy and reliability of the renowned Optotrak 3020 series, Optotrak CertusÂ® offers greater flexibility for our motion capture applications.
Kinematic Profiler: A custom built kinematic profiler is used for testing ranges of motion. We test range of motion in all directions by applying pure moments, which mimic physiolog ical conditions of the human spine. This is one of the unique tests we are able to perform. We have been doing pre-load testing which mimics the stress the spine undergoes during every day activities. Ideal applications of the Kinematic Profiler are the ability to assess adjacent segment changes in cadaveric studies.
Pressure system: We a have intra-discal pressure measuring system which enables us to evaluate the amount of stress the discs undergo during the testing process at the index and adjacent levels.
Enduratec Smart Test Series pneumatic Axial and Torsional testing system. We have the capabilities to test materials and cyclic testing of the product with the Enduratec testing machine for fatigue and stress tests.
The center also has access to the mechanical shop at the Physical Plant in the UMDNJ campus which is beneficial in developing self-designed fixtures for research.
Medical facilities such as X-ray, DEXA, CT scanning, etc. help in various stages of research to understand the effect of the implant in true in vivo conditions. Animal facilities, located within the medical school, are available to staff for in vivo studies.