“Simulating Tendon Reconstructive Surgeries using a Virtual Hand Model and Robotic Testbed,” National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIH R21). PI: Stephen Mascaro, Co-PI: Kenneth Foreman, 07/02/2019-05/31/2021, $347,798.

The goal of this project is to advance tendon reconstructive surgery by providing a new way to predict the surgical outcomes using a virtual model for surgeons to examine the outcomes of surgery like range of motion and strength of grip. We currently have a unique virtual model of the tendon system of the human finger that can simulate the kinematics of the tendons and predict the pose of the fingertip in the presence of contact forces. We also have a robotic testbed with a robot finger that mimics the tendon system of the human finger. The first aim of this new project is to expand our virtual model and robotic testbed to include the thumb tendon system. The second aim is to simulate tendon reconstructive surgeries using both the virtual model and the robotic testbed and compare their predicted surgical outcomes. The use of a robotic testbed will allow us to accurately tune the parameters of the virtual model to a real physical system with measurable time-invariant parameters. We will perform simulated tendon repair surgeries and simulated tendon transfer surgeries. The third aim is to simulate these same tendon reconstructive surgeries using cadavers and compare with outcomes from the virtual model. The use of cadavers will be more challenging due to the difficulty in accurately identifying physical parameters, but will demonstrate the model’s translation to true biological systems. Successfully simulating these surgeries will demonstrate the utility of the virtual model and robotic testbed for predicting outcomes and training surgeons in new techniques for reconstructive hand surgery.