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Michael Sutcliffe - Biomedical Engineering Research

Decompressive Craniectomy - Active
Decompressive craniectomy
Decompressive craniectomy (DC) is a surgical procedure in which the neurosurgeon removes a section of skull in order to reduce uncontrolled raised intra-cranial pressure (ICP) post traumatic brain injury. DC has seen renewed interest in recent years, however, there remains doubt as to the efficacy of the procedure. Engineering models of DC can aid the surgeon in furthering their understanding of the procedure and its likely effects on the brain during surgery. Current work includes image analysis to quantify deformation associated with DC and a parametric finite element study of the procedure to address clinical issues such as the optimum location and size of the craniectomy. A PhD project has been completed by Tim Fletcher, and the work is now being carried forward by Barabara Wirthl, in collaboration with Peter Hutchinson and Angelos Kolias at the Department of Neurosurgery, in conjunction with the RescueICP project. [Picture acknowledgement F Servadei]

Artery Modelling - Active
Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of death. Rupture of diseased atherosclerotic plaque leads to stroke, while the benefits of lowering high blood pressure using drugs are well established. Work by Graeham Douglas and Aziz Tokgoz considers measurement and modelling of material properties of diseased arteries, with funding from EPSRC, the Canadian Government and the Armstrong Trust and in collaboration with Jonathan Gillard and Zhongzhao Teng at the Department of Radiology. Secondary harmonic imaging, in conjunction with Jeremy Skepper and the Cambridge Advanced Imaging Centre, is being used to explore the way that the collagen network structure affects deformation and failure. In another tack, Chen Yen Ooi has investigated the mechanical and pharmacological aspects of arteries to describe plaque rupture and arterial response to drugs, in collaboration with Anthony Davenport and Janet Maguire at the Department of Clinical Parmacology.

Radiotherapy - Active
Radiotherapy remains one of the most potent curative treatments for cancer. For many common cancers, up to half of patients treated experience some degree of toxicity. Current dose escalation strategies are based on static models of the patient anatomy, and do not take into account variation in patient position, shape and location of mobile internal organs. This research project aims to provide bio-engineering models and analysis tools to predict tissue-tracked dosage mapping and hence guide development of appropriate patient-specific radiotherapy protocols. The work is part of the in collaboration with colleagues in the Departments of Oncology and Physics as part of the Voxtox project. The picture shows a still from an animation of the rectum during radiotherapy treatment.

Biomechanics Testing in Clinical and Veterinary Medicine - Active
Veterinary Medicine
I have been involved with various projects in collaboration with colleagues at Addenbrooke's Hospital and the Department of Veterinary Medicine, predominantly working on mechanical and materials testing, with help from Alan Heaver and Anne Bahnweg in the Department. Projects include: (i) testing of suture configurations for use in repairing cruciate disease in canine stifle joints, (ii) strength of hand tendon repairs, (iii) assessment of different techniques for treating feline talocrural luxation using suture prostheses and bone tunnels, (iv) assessment of different fixation plate configurations for stabilising canine tibia fracture.

Hydrocephalus - Complete
This project investigated brain compliance and deformation associated with various neuro-pathologies (head injury and hydrocephalus), focussing on two different modelling approaches: global and structural. In the global approach, the relationship between added volume and pressure response was analysed in terms of cerebrospinal volume-pressure compensatory reserve or brain compartmental compliances. For the structural approach, magnetic resonance imaging data were processed to generate meshes for finite element analysis. For hydrocephalus, the resulting models can be used to help define the degree of pathogenesis by considering the size of ventricles and the extent of cerebral oedema and to discriminate between hydrocephalus and other neurological disorders. These hold the potential to improve treatment outcomes for individual patients by making pragmatic treatment decisions in clinical practice. The PhD project was undertaken undertaken by DongJoo Kim, co-supervised by Marek Czosnyka at the Department of Neurosurgery and in collaboration with colleagues there.

© 2015 Cambridge University Engineering Dept and Michael Sutcliffe.
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