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Translation of science to surgery


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Orthopaedic surgery is in an exciting transitional period as modern surgical interventions, implants and scientific developments are providing new therapeutic options. As advances in basic science and technology improve our understanding of the pathology and repair of musculoskeletal tissue, traditional operations may be replaced by newer, less invasive procedures which are more appropriately targeted at the underlying pathophysiology. However, evidence-based practice will remain a basic requirement of care. Orthopaedic surgeons can and should remain at the forefront of the development of novel therapeutic interventions and their application. Progression of the potential of bench research into an improved array of orthopaedic treatments in an effective yet safe manner will require the development of a subgroup of specialists with extended training in research to play an important role in bridging the gap between laboratory science and clinical practice. International regulations regarding the introduction of new biological treatments will place an additional burden on the mechanisms of this translational process, and orthopaedic surgeons who are trained in science, surgery and the regulatory environment will be essential. Training and supporting individuals with these skills requires special consideration and discussion by the orthopaedic community.

In this paper we review some traditional approaches to the integration of orthopaedic science and surgery, the therapeutic potential of current regenerative biomedical science for cartilage repair and ways in which we may develop surgeons with the skills required to translate scientific discovery into effective and properly assessed orthopaedic treatments.

Correspondence should be sent to Mr C. Moran; e-mail: cathalmoran@rcsi.ie

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