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Amputation and Prosthetic Engineering Research CoE

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The primary mission of the Department of Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Research and Development Center of Excellence for Limb Loss Prevention and Prosthetic Engineering is to improve the quality of life and functional status of both Veterans who are at risk for lower extremity amputation and Veterans and service members who have undergone lower extremity amputation.

finite element foot modelLimb Loss Prevention

Our Center’s Limb Loss Prevention research aims to reduce functional and anatomical limb loss by exploring the disease processes that lead to aberrant limb function and by developing novel, state-of-the-art technologies for studying the foot. Our research focuses on two Veteran populations: those with musculoskeletal impairment at the foot and ankle, where pain and limitations in mobility are the key issues; and those at risk of lower limb amputation due to diabetes and foot ulceration, where loss of the foot or leg is a major concern.

The goals of our research include:

  1. Quantitative comparison of different treatment options for foot deformities that can lead to loss of limb function.
  2. Insight into the pathomechanics of diabetic foot ulcer formation.
  3. Novel research tools that can be employed in a wide range of clinical studies.

Controlled Energy Storage and Release FootProsthetic Engineering

Our Center’s Prosthetic Engineering research focuses on limitations in mobility and discomfort experienced by all major cohorts of Veterans with lower limb amputation, including those with amputation secondary to peripheral vascular disease and diabetes, the aging combat-injured Vietnam Veteran, and the young, active Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) / Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) combat-injured amputee. Our research compares existing prosthetic technologies and develops innovative new approaches.

The goals of our research include:

  1. Determine the efficacy of currently-prescribed prosthetic interventions and treatments.
  2. Investigate novel approaches that offer breakthrough advances to the current standard-of-care.

ankle arthroplastySpecial Projects

End-stage ankle arthritis (ESAA) is a debilitating condition associated with severe pain, limited mobility, and reduced quality of life. Patients seeking surgery for ESAA have two primary treatment options: ankle arthrodesis (or "ankle fusion") and ankle arthroplasty (or "ankle replacement"). Each surgery has benefits and drawbacks, but few studies have directly compared the outcomes of these surgeries. The purpose of this study is to conduct a Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) with a back door for patient-preference enrollment comparing ankle arthroplasty to ankle arthrodesis for treatment of ESAA. We will compare subjects' pain, mobility, and general health before and after each surgery. We will also determine whether certain patient characteristics are associated with more successful outcomes.