AO Research Institute Davos and ETH

Practical course "Skeletal Repair" for MSc students.

23 April 2015

Participants and instructors of the Block Course "Skeletal Repair"

​On April 7-8, 2015, more than 40 students and supervisors from the Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich (ETHZ) and the University of Applied Sciences in Winterthur (ZHAW) met at the AO Center in Davos to join the practical course on "Skeletal Repair". For the first time this 2-day course was run as a part of a Masters course in Health Technologies at the Department Health Sciences and Technology (D-HEST) of the ETHZ. The goal is to complement the lecture series at the ETHZ and ZHAW with practical hands-on training.

Osteosynthesis and Skills training

After a comprehensive introduction to the principles of surgical fracture repair by Dr Jan Benthien from the Hospital Davos, the participants were invited to test their surgical skills on different osteosynthesis exercises. Using artificial bone models, the correct application of common surgical instruments and the positioning of the metal implants including nails, plates, screws and external fixators were professionally demonstrated by Dr Raphael Jenni from the Cantonal Hospital in Chur. Together with a qualified team of surgeon instructors Raphael Jenni guided and supported the students throughout the surgical procedures. Four stations of the "Skill Training Lab" that were organized by Dieter Wahl, and demonstrated by Manuela Ernst and AO Research Institute Davos fellows, complemented the exercises part with focus on bone fracture treatment. The aim is raise the awareness of translating basic biomechanical and physical principles into practical application.

From bench to bedside

On the second day Prof R Geoff Richards gave an illustrative lecture about the importance of pre-clinical translation and demonstrated some recent examples of products and procedures developed by the AO. Although the way from bench to bedside is long and the AO Research Institute Davos is primarily involved in the first steps, translation of research findings into the clinics has always been the ultimate goal for all AO Research Institute Davos projects.

The course was completed by different workshops addressing relevant topics from in vitro and in vivo studies for skeletal research to real clinical cases. Adenovirus transduction was demonstrated by Dr Martin Stoddart, adhesive polymers by Dr David Eglin, implant infection by Dr Fintan Moriarty, disc organ culture by Dr Sibylle Grad, in vivo models by Dr Stephan Zeiter, and bone microscopy by Christoph Sprecher. Bernd Heinlein and Daniel Baumgartner from ZHAW led the workshop on endoprosthetics, while Dr Raphael Jenni involved the participants in clinical case studies. Insight and participation in laboratory studies was very motivating and might have encouraged some of them to pursue a MSc thesis in the field.

The overall feedback from the course participants was extremely positive, while the intense support and high competence of all instructors was particularly appreciated.

The block course on Skeletal Repair was supported by the AO Research Institute Davos (ARI), the Hospital Davos, RISystem and DePuy Synthes.

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