Dr. Huddleston's research interests involve understanding the way bacteria interact and pathologically affect various musculoskeletal structures in the human body. Bacteria, either from outside the human body or from within, can adhere to surgical implants, bones and joints and cause pain, poor healing and early failure of internal fixation. These clinical conditions can contribute to the formation of abscesses, septic arthritis, osteomyelitis and epidural abscess.
- Identification and classification of musculoskeletal infection, including epidural abscess and vertebral osteomyelitis.
- Correlation of patient-reported outcomes and public-reported outcomes with regard to spine surgeries and nonoperative outcomes for spine care.
- Understanding the pathophysiology of multiple myeloma as it affects oncologic care for the spine patient.
Significance to patient care
Although infection rates have fallen over the past 20 years, the incidence of 'superbugs' or bacteria that are multiresistant to many of the currently available antibiotics has increased. The incidence and prevalence of osteomyelitis as well as the epidemiology of implant-associated spine infections has allowed further refinement of the focus of surgical and nonsurgical care of patients with this problem.
The hope is that this critical understanding has formed a foundation from which exploration and experiments into metallurgy to help resist bacterial colonization and the assessment and mitigation of patient risk factors will aid the protocol of patient management based on best practice while trying to maximize value.