Despite scientific advances in orthopedic surgery, one area lags behind the others: the elbow. Injuries affecting the elbow can be debilitating. Overcoming the pain, loss of motion and resulting loss of function can be a significant challenge for patients and the surgeons who treat them.

Led by principal investigator Shawn W. O'Driscoll, M.D., Ph.D., the Elbow and Shoulder Laboratory at Mayo Clinic studies the development and refinement of techniques to repair and reconstruct injured elbows and shoulders. Dr. O'Driscoll and his research team, along with a large network of physician-scientist collaborators, studies the biomechanics of joints when they're intact, when they're injured and when they have been repaired. His research includes the biomechanics of prosthetic radial head replacement and the development of a coronoid fracture classification system to help determine the best course of action to treat posteromedial rotatory instability.

Research advances that translate into new and better treatment options would improve outcomes for patients with elbow and shoulder injuries and decrease long-term health care costs.

About Dr. O'Driscoll

Dr. O'Driscoll is an orthopedic surgeon and a sports medicine specialist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, whose clinical practice is focused exclusively on elbow and shoulder surgery. He is also a professor of orthopedics at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science. Since completing his Ph.D. in 1984 under the mentorship of orthopedic surgery pioneer Robert B. Salter, M.D., Dr. O'Driscoll himself has become a pioneer in the field of tissue engineering for cartilage repair. He has made numerous contributions to the field that have been adopted worldwide, including the Congruent Elbow Plating System, the Anatomic Radial Head prosthesis and the Latitude linkable Total Elbow Prosthesis.

Dr. O'Driscoll has developed a stepwise safety-driven technique that has proved highly effective in reducing the incidence of iatrogenic nerve injury during elbow arthroscopy. He has also been a leader in elucidating the mechanisms of elbow fracture dislocation and elbow instability, and he has devised a functional fracture classification system to guide the management of coronoid fractures. Dr. O'Driscoll leads a dedicated research team that conducts elbow-related basic science and prospective and retrospective clinical studies.