What is ortho research?

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10+ Year Member
Feb 27, 2005
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First of all, I know that: ortho research > research > no research

But what I was wondering is, what is considered "ortho" research? I have the opportunity to do research with a PhD this fall. He actually works in the physical therapy department at the school. Looking at some of his published research, he does a lot of work with biomechanics and related subjects. Could I count it as specialty research if there isn't physician actually involved in most of the process?

Also, is there any area of orthopaedic research that is popular right now?


dry dre

All hat, no cattle
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15+ Year Member
Dec 20, 2003
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I'll throw out a subjective, if obvious to many response. Having some research background demonstrates that you're familiar with the process so that you can a)conduct research in residency with less hand-holding and b) likely better interpret research data.

"Ortho" research doesn't have to be conducted with a pod. If the science deals with biomechanics, I'd say that it's ortho (individuals, ie programs, will decide for themselves if the research is 'ortho,' but I wouldn't sweat it in the big picture). If a pod isn't on the team, the only major 'drawback' I can see is that you won't get a pod letter out of the deal. Depending on who reads your letters, this may or may not be an issue (assuming that your other letters are from pods). Note that many programs only want letters from clinicians, but you can always mail in extra letters, with the caveat that there are different views on the subject of mailing extra letters...

Regarding hot areas, go with what interests you. Say you like immuno for some reason...some may look down on immunology research, others may see you as ~so bright that you need all kinds of intellectual stimulation (and/or you could use such related knowledge in an ortho-onc career). At the same time, you might create some magic if you did research in some program director's favorite subject...or the opposite with the opposite.

Can't overemphasize going with what interests you.


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Mar 23, 2005
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I agree with the previous poster. You have to find research that interests you or you will hate every minute in the lab.

The major areas of Orthopaedic Basic Science Research are:
Failure of TJRs
Cartilage Biomechanics, Repair and Regeneration
Septic Arthritis and Infection
Ligament and Tendon repair and regeneration
Bone Biology and its response to mechanical loading
Wound healing
This is just a short list and many studies are in vivo

The major areas of Orthopaedic Biomechanical Engineering include:
Mathematical modeling of growth and development
Design of new implants
Failure analysis

Do not forget Gait labs and Biomechanical analyses

And..... Clinical research (case reports, series,.....)