MedStar Union Memorial Unveils New Musculoskeletal Simulator | MedStar Health

MedStar Union Memorial Unveils New Musculoskeletal Simulator

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System is One of a Kind in the World

BALTIMORE—MedStar Union Memorial Hospital unveiled this month a custom-built, cutting-edge robotic simulator that replicates musculoskeletal motion, allowing researchers to study the forces on muscles, bones and joints, and improve surgical methods utilized in orthopaedic reconstructive surgery.

The system, which is the only one like it in the world, will help anchor the MedStar Musculoskeletal Education and Research Institute, a system-wide research initiative in collaboration with the MedStar Health Research Institute, which has expanded and enhanced existing research efforts in the areas of degenerative, deformity, traumatic, and congenital pathologies of the musculoskeletal system. Bryan W. Cunningham, PhD, a seasoned research leader with more than 30 years experience, was hired earlier this year to lead the institute.

“This device will help us to better understand how certain surgical techniques influence the biomechanics of musculoskeletal motions,” Dr. Cunningham said. “It’s an exciting technological advancement that will help us better understand the dynamics of the musculoskeletal motion and improve upon existing technologies in an effort to enhance the surgical care and quality of life for patients with musculoskeletal pathology. That’s what it’s all about - advancing patient care.”

The musculoskeletal simulator is known as a six-degree-of-freedom simulator, so called because it’s capable of replicating multidirectional motions: forward, backward, up and down, and side to side.

The fundamental application of the technology allows for surgeons to perform surgical reconstructions in a laboratory setting to determine how a specific technique (e.g. spinal fusion) affects motions and forces at the operative site and adjacent levels.

The team at the MedStar Musculoskeletal Education and Research Institute will use the device to establish and maintain a premier musculoskeletal research and teaching center, while developing a collaborative worldwide network of research colleagues dedicated to the treatment of patients with musculoskeletal disorders.


About MedStar Union Memorial Hospital

MedStar Union Memorial Hospital is a not-for-profit, 223-bed acute care teaching hospital with a strong emphasis on cardiac care, orthopaedics and sports medicine. With roots stemming back to 1854, MedStar Union Memorial has provided high quality care for 160 years. As one of the region's top specialty hospitals, MedStar Union Memorial is home to: The Curtis National Hand Center, the largest hand center in the world, focused on the treatment of the hand and upper extremities; MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute, a premier cardiovascular program in the mid-Atlantic, aligned with Cleveland Clinic Heart and Vascular Institute, the nation’s #1 heart program; and MedStar Sports Medicine, which includes the oldest hospital based sports medicine program in Maryland (founded in 1979).  In addition, MedStar Union Memorial offers a comprehensive range of inpatient and outpatient services including oncology, diabetes and endocrinology, general surgery, thoracic surgery, vascular surgery and palliative care.

MedStar Union Memorial is accredited by The Joint Commission (TJC). It is the first hospital in Baltimore to receive spine certification by TJC, and the first in the state of Maryland to receive advanced certification for palliative care. MedStar Union Memorial is also TJC-certified in hip and knee replacement and has been designated as a Primary Stroke Center and the Hand Trauma Center for Maryland.

MedStar Union Memorial is a proud member of MedStar Health, a non-profit, regional health care system with 10 hospitals and more than 20 other health-related services in the Maryland and Washington, D.C., area.

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About MedStar Orthopaedic Institute

In Central Maryland, MedStar Orthopaedic Institute combines the skill and expertise of more than 80 physicians at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, MedStar Harbor Hospital, MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, The Curtis National Hand Center, and more than 20 community locations, giving you convenient access to the area's top orthopaedic, spine and sports medicine care. Our physicians treat the Baltimore Ravens, Baltimore Orioles, Washington Wizards, Washington Capitals, Baltimore Blast, Baltimore Brigade, US Lacrosse, and the majority of collegiate, high school and recreational teams in the region. Visit or call 877-34-ORTHO for an appointment.

About MedStar Health Research Institute

MedStar Health Research Institute (MHRI), founded in 1963, is the research division of MedStar Health. MHRI provides scientific, administrative, and regulatory support for clinical research throughout the MedStar Health system. Led by Dr. Neil Weissman, MHRI supports more than 1,000 associates dedicated to advancing health through research.

MHRI’s core services include a biostatistics and epidemiological center, clinical research centers, a research pharmacy, two accredited pre-clinical laboratories, biochemistry and biomarker core laboratories, a core platelet center, a cardiac and vascular pathology center, a genetics/genomics/proteomics research core, a cardiovascular core imaging center, an institutional review board, and an office of research integrity. In the last year, more than 1,000 active studies, involving thousands of patients, resulted in nearly 1,000 peer-reviewed publications. MHRI is in the top 20% of U.S. institutions receiving funds from the National Institutes of Health and other federal agencies, with approximately 60% of its studies being federally funded.