Our research is based around a simple idea: orthopaedic surgeons and their patients need better information about which operations work or don’t work, and where there are options, which operations work best.
Even though orthopaedic surgery is generally believed to be very effective, there isn’t much robust clinical effectiveness information and even less of the cost effectiveness information that is so important for influencing policy.
So we don’t do laboratory research. We don’t work with test tubes or mice. Most of our work is done with surgeons and patients at the most applied end of the research spectrum, translating new ideas and technologies into clinical treatments, and testing their effectiveness. Often this involves systematic reviewing of all the existing evidence and then randomised controlled trials to compare treatments with each other or with non-operative treatment.
This sort of research is challenging. One of the reasons that there isn’t much good evidence already is that randomised trials are difficult to do, and especially so in surgery.
We have built an extensive infrastructure, including a permanent research team and a national network of collaborating hospitals, which enables us to design and run these big projects. This has been recognised in the many grants that have been awarded to Warwick Orthopaedics, including large grants from major funding bodies.
We have focused our research questions in three main areas: joint replacement, treatment of fractures, and the treatment of joint injuries and cartilage damage. Within our group, experts in each of these areas lead a portfolio of interlinking studies; all with the objective of performing decisive randomised controlled trials. Together, these areas make up a the majority of the work of orthopaedic surgeons, and represent a large portion of the patients with musculoskeletal disease. In the future, our work will enable those patients and their surgeons to make better decisions about their care.