This project focuses on a critical area of prosthetic fitting for lower limb amputees. This studentship represents a chance to join a leading team of engineering and health sciences academics, as part of the University of Southampton’s growing portfolio of amputee research. The successful candidate will work in a multidisciplinary team of researchers and clinicians, including rehabilitation physiotherapists, prosthetists, and radiographers.
Lower limb amputation is a life-altering event that may significantly impact an individual’s independence and quality of life. Major obstacles to rehabilitation include residual limb discomfort whilst in loaded postures, and the subsequent risk of soft tissue injury. A personalised socket allows transmission of loads generated during normal activities, from the prosthetic limb into the musculoskeletal system. Sockets are designed by skilled prosthetists, who use iterative trials to design a definitive prosthesis. This is a challenge as the residual limb’s tissues change in volume, shape, compliance and vulnerability throughout the day with temperature, activity and hydration. The tissues’ structure also adapt considerably in the months following surgery. There is a clear clinical need for an improved, quantitative understanding of how the limb responds to the complex biomechanical environment it experiences following amputation, both short and long-term.
This studentship project will produce novel methods to characterise the residual limb after amputation, in terms of the bone and soft tissue geometry, mechanical properties, and their response to loading:
• The candidate will design and conduct an MR imaging study to produce a first-of-kind stump volumetric anatomic dataset, and enable the development of computational models of the internal hard and soft tissue structures.
• The soft tissue depth, compliance and strain arising from donning the prosthetic socket and applying static loads will be measured, and used to validate the models’ predictions.
The candidate is expected to have an excellent undergraduate degree in either:
• Mechanical or Biomedical Engineering, and some understanding of computational modelling, OR
• A health sciences discipline such as physiotherapy, prosthetics and orthotics, medical physics or radiography, and experience of MRI or biomechanical data collection would be desirable.
A full studentship is available for 1st Class candidates from the UK or EU, and scholarship funding may be available for candidates outside the EU.
If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr Alex Dickinson, Bioengineering Science research group, Email: [email protected]
, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 595394.