Submitted by Dr. Farsh Guilak, PhD
Congratulations to Lou DeFrate for winning the 2016 Kappa Delta Young Investigator Award from the AAOS! This is an outstanding achievement, and I’m sure you would agree that he is most deserving of the highest honor given for orthopaedic research.
The work presented in his award paper focuses on his highly novel and clinically relevant analysis of the deformation of the ACL in vivo. These studies represent some of the most exciting and high-impact breakthrough in biomechanics, allowing for the measurement of in vivo strains in a non-invasive manner for the first time. This technique has tremendous relevance both to a basic understanding of injury risk to the ACL, as well as to the understanding and improvement of surgical techniques for ACL reconstruction. For example, his work has provided the first quantitative understanding of the influence of ACL surgical reconstruction technique on joint kinematics, cartilage strain and wear, and ACL deformation in vivo.
These studies have revealed that different surgical techniques can have a major influence on restoring normal joint function, thus providing a rational means of evaluating and improving ACL reconstruction surgery. Given the recent literature questioning the ability of ACL reconstruction to prevent long term degenerative changes in the joint, this work has the potential to have a great impact on how ACL injuries are treated surgically. Based on these studies, our surgeons have altered how they perform ACL reconstructions in their clinical practice. I foresee that other studies, based on the methods that Lou has developed, will be applied a number of different orthopaedic surgery techniques to further assess and improve their functional outcomes.
Please join me in congratulating Lou and his research group!