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Optical coherence tomography for intra-operative assessment of osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis affects millions of people worldwide, and results from wear and tear of the thin layer of cartilage which covers the bone – most commonly in the knee or hip joint. 

Current surgical treatment involves keyhole surgery, where a small video camera is inserted into the joint to identify the area of damaged cartilage. 

One common type of damage occurs when the cartilage layer becomes detached from the bone (called 'delamination'). However, this cannot be identified well using current methods with a video camera. In this project, we will explore the use of optical coherence tomography (OCT) to identify where the cartilage has become disconnected from the bone. 

In this honours project, you will develop a synthetic model of a soft cartilage over bone, most likely using some type of polymer resin over a rigid surface. You will then explore methods to use OCT to measure small, micron-scale movements in the soft, cartilage-layer and quantify how these differ between when it is rigidly attached to the bone layer from when it is detached. 

This project will establish whether OCT has potential to be developed into a tool to provide intra-operative guidance in cartilage replacement surgery.

Requirements: This project requires a knowledge of optics and will include programming in Matlab.


Tagged in Honours projects - Physics, Honours Projects - Robert McLaughlin, Honours Projects - Jiawen Li, Honours in Physics subtheme - Optics lasers and photonics, Honours in Physics subtheme - Medical physics

Competition: Young Scientist of the Year

How do we feed the world’s growing population? How do we save our wildlife from extinction? Got an idea that will build a brighter, greener world?

Australian high school students are invited to submit a short video about one of Australia’s big science challenges.

Video competition