The Clinical Orthopaedic Research Unit
The clinical orthopaedic surgical research unit is a cross-functional team consisting of an occupational therapist, a nurse, a health economist, several doctors and medical students. We have initiated and finished several randomised clinical tests at Aarhus University Hospital in cooperation with both national and international research teams. All clinical tests have been approved by The Danish National Committee on Biomedical research Ethics and the research unit has been authorised by the Danish Data Protection Agency.
A large part of the clinical research emanates from an extensive lumbar fusion database established in 1993 currently containing 2,200 cases.
Fusion surgery covers several types of spondylodesis for example posterolateral fusion with or without instrumentation, anterior fusion with or without posterolateral fusion. All methods are approved forms of surgery, but presently the evidence of the surgical procedure is neither sufficient nor unambiguous. Fusion surgery is a well-established treatment for a number of different disorders as for example osteoarthritis of the back. We are working on generating better proof of fusion surgery as well as securing an improved screening of the patients and thereby being able to offer the best possible treatment for every patient. Some patients suffering from osteoarthritis may benefit from insertion of a disc prosthesis, which is a relatively new operating technique. We are participating in a multi centre study, which will clarify the roll of the disc prosthesis in the treatment of the patient.
A large part of the ongoing research involves questionnaires, which inquire about pain, level of activity and quality of life, and are handed out before and after surgery (short- and long-term follow-ups). Several of the randomised studies compare different operating procedures and the rehabilitation afterwards.
In addition to fusion surgery research is being made in treatment of scoliosis. At present there is a clinical study especially pointed at patients with rapidly progressing scoliosis curvatures, which therefore requires surgical treatment at a young age. Focus is on the management of growth possibilities as well as preservation of lung capacity.