Student course at AO Research Institute Davos

Practical course "Skeletal Repair" for students from ETHZ and ZHAW at the AO Research Institute Davos.

01 April 2016

On Friday and Saturday March 18-19, 2016, forty-five students from the Federal Institute of Technology Zürich (ETHZ) and the University of Applied Sciences Winterthur (ZHAW) met at the AO Center in Davos to join the practical course in "Skeletal Repair". This course, organized by the AO Research Institute Davos (ARI), is also part of a lecture series for ETH Master Students of the directions Health Science and Technology and Biomedical Engineering. The goals of the course are to gain insight into the basics of fracture treatment and into the translational research of the AO Research Institute Davos.

In the initial lecture, Prof. R. Geoff Richards briefly explained the history of the AO Foundation and highlighted the objectives of the contemporary research at the AO Research Institute Davos. With some recent examples, he impressively illustrated the close collaboration between the AO Research Institute Davos and the clinics with the overall goal to improve patient care. Gian Bühler, an orthopedic surgeon then outlined the basics of fracture healing and the most important surgical techniques for proper fracture treatment.

Group picture of the faculty

Osteosynthesis and Skill training
During the subsequent osteosynthesis exercises the participants could practice the application of different surgical implants using artificial bones. The students recognized and experienced the challenges of appropriate placing of intramedullary nails, external fixators and osteosynthesis plates; so the support by the table instructors was highly appreciated. Dr. Raphael Jenni, a leading orthopedic surgeon at the Cantonal Hospital in Chur, and his team of clinician experts guided and instructed the students well, so that finally all the artificial fractures were treated properly. At the hands-on stations of the "skill training lab", the students were then introduced into the important relationships between biomechanics, physics and surgery. A qualified AO Research Institute Davos team, led by Dieter Wahl, with Manuela Ernst, Ivan Zderic, Perter Varga and Dominik Jenni, demonstrated how to put theory into practice. 

Practical exercise, Osteosynthesis exercise, Block course

Hands-on Workshops on Skeletal Repair
On the second day, emphasis was put on nine different workshops led by scientists from the AO Research Institute Davos, ZHAW and clinicians. Topics ranged from cell survival (Marietta Herrmann), adenoviral transduction (Martin Stoddart, Ursula Menzel), joint anatomy (Jennifer Bara), implant infection (Fintan Moriarty), biomaterial technology (David Eglin), bioreactors (Zhen Li), to pre-clinical models (Stephan Zeiter), endoprosthetics (Daniel Baumgartner and Bernd Heinlein) and clinical cases (Raphael Jenni). The workshops also provided excellent insight into the laboratories and in state-of-the-art methodologies at the AO Research Institute Davos. The students were highly motivated and some of them showed great interest in a Master thesis project at an AO Research Institute Davos lab. Such projects will further strengthen the long standing collaboration between the AO Research Institute Davos and the ETHZ/ZHAW.

The practical course in Skeletal Repair was organized by Sibylle Grad, Christoph Sprecher and the AO Research Institute Davos Administrative Service team and was supported by the AO Research Institute Davos (ARI), RISystem and DePuy Synthes.

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