Mark E. Morrey, M.D., is studying ways to optimize total elbow and shoulder arthroplasties clinically. From a basic science perspective, his research involves soft tissue healing, the genetic basis of orthopedic disease and optimizing resident education. Dr. Morrey is specifically interested in the shoulder and the elbow as they relate to tendon healing and joint stiffness. He is also studying how surgical skills training impacts resident education and patient outcomes.
- Elbow and shoulder arthroplasty. Dr. Morrey is studying ways to optimize the treatment of infected total elbow and shoulder implants and massive bone loss requiring large reconstructive surgeries.
- Tendinopathies. Dr. Morrey is studying the breakdown of normal tendon tissue (tendinopathies) and regenerative medicine strategies aimed at regrowing normal tendon tissue. This is done utilizing novel scaffolds that provide cues to regenerate tissue. He is partnering with the Botnar Research Centre at the University of Oxford's Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, in Oxford, U.K., to develop a viable tendon scaffold to treat tendinopathy and tendon tears.
- Genetic basis of arthrofibrosis. Dr. Morrey is conducting research on stiff joints (arthrofibrosis). His team developed an animal model to study the gene expression of stiff joints and to test different pharmacologic treatments. The team is in the process of identifying key genes in humans that may predispose patients to developing stiff joints.
- Surgical skills training. Dr. Morrey is designing and studying different methods that teach intraoperative surgical skills to residents. He is keenly interested in how this translates to improved operative outcomes for patients.
Significance to patient care
Elbow and shoulder arthroplasty have exploded in recent years, and the concomitant failure of these implants is expected to increase substantially. Solutions to infection and massive bone loss are requisite to dealing with the coming increase in surgical cases.
Tendinopathies affects millions of patients and results in significant economic burden to society and the patient as a result of an inability to manage the condition. Dr. Morrey is designing a randomized controlled trial investigating a new percutaneous treatment with an ultrasound device that has shown promise in treating such disorders. The scaffold being developed has the potential to help millions of patients heal rotator cuff, triceps and Achilles tendon injuries.
There are currently no pharmacologic treatments for stiff joints (arthrofibrosis) after surgery or trauma. The team hopes to develop individualized pharmacologic treatments based on an individual's unique genetic profile to help alleviate this problem.
Surgical skills education is shown to affect manual dexterity, which has a direct effect on operative performance and patient outcomes. Dr. Morrey's study on effective training strategies has the potential to affect hundreds of patients who are the beneficiaries of advanced teaching techniques and surgical skills technologies of Mayo Clinic's graduating residents.
- Reviewer, Clinical Orthopedics and Related Research and The Bone & Joint Journal, 2013-present
- Girdlestone Scholarship in orthopedic surgery and research, University of Oxford, 2013