The UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery has an integrated multi-disciplinary orthopaedic research laboratory. Components include: the Orthopaedic Biomechanics Laboratory, the Microsurgery Laboratory, and the Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory. The Orthopaedic Research Laboratory is a major component in the development of the orthopaedic surgery department under the chairmanship of David S. Bradford, M.D., with Jeffrey C. Lotz, Ph.D., as Laboratory Director. Already state-of-the-art equipment, such as MTS and MMED mechanical testing machines, full computer capabilities, full histology capabilities and video imaging are in place.
The Hand and Microvascular Surgery Service is an integral part of this research initiative. There are presently two operating microscopes, a Mac computer and a printer in the Microsurgery Laboratory. Clinical microscopy training is provided in the Fellowship. Two research Fellows are active in projects and also help direct annual microsurgical laboratory training to physicians in other disciplines, (oral and maxillofacial surgery, urology, etc.) Hand research Fellows perform basic science projects in wrist and hand biomechanics, soft tissue repair, animal research, imaging studies, and any other topics that are within the capabilities of the laboratory. There is a weekly hand lab meeting, Thursday mornings from 8-8:30, with informal meetings with individual investigators on individual projects on an as-needed basis. The lab presently has major projects underway in flexor tendon healing, developing an animal model for repetitive motion injuries and chronic nerve compression, CT imaging and finite element analysis of wrist anatomy, and implant experimentation and design. The laboratory is supported by grants from UCSF, the Orthopaedic Research and Educational Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and private donations. Clinical projects and areas of interest include: evaluation of outcomes of carpal tunnel surgery, external fixators for wrist fractures, and clinical trials of novel splinting and casting devices.
An important feature of the Combined Hand and Microvascular Surgery Fellowship is one-on-one teaching of research methodology, including formulation of a clinical or basic research question, setting up the protocol for the experiment, and producing a manuscript or a paper. All Fellows are required to complete a project prior to the completion of the Fellowship, with national meeting presentation/publication expected. Adequate time and supervision is provided to make this a realistic and integral part of the Fellowship.