The Orthopedic Genetic Host Variation Laboratory, based at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, is pursuing mechanistic studies on arthrofibrosis through acquisition of patient-derived samples, with support from the combined expertise of our multidisciplinary team.

Principal investigator Matthew P. Abdel, M.D., leads the Orthopedic Genetic Host Variation Lab in our long-term goal to innovate the practice of orthopedics by developing theragnostic approaches that permit genetic diagnosis and implementation of pharmacotherapies to prevent the onset of arthrofibrosis after total knee arthroplasty (TKA).

Total knee arthroplasty, also called knee replacement surgery, involves replacement of damaged tissue with orthopedic implant devices. TKA is a relatively common procedure — about 1 million of the surgeries are performed a year — that relieves pain and restores function within the knee joint. As general improvements in health care permit longer lives, aging patients are seeking knee replacement at a remarkable rate to remain active. Such patients expect not only pain relief but also improved function, which is intimately associated with a full arc of motion of the knee. Read more about knee replacement.

However, some patients who have total knee arthroplasty go on to develop arthrofibrosis (joint stiffening) after the procedure. Arthrofibrosis is a debilitating complication with limited treatment options and affects a substantial subset of patients, about 5%.

Despite significant advancements in TKA surgical techniques and implant devices, there are no known preventive treatments to avoid joint stiffness, and often surgical intervention is required to treat this condition.

Our lab is conducting several research projects to learn more about arthrofibrosis and improve treatment options for patients. We're investigating the characteristics of patients with arthrofibrosis, learning more about genetic predisposition to arthrofibrosis, studying the molecular characterization of arthrofibrotic pathways, and developing applications for artificial intelligence.

About Dr. Abdel

Dr. Abdel is the Andrew A. and Mary S. Sugg Professor of Orthopedic Surgery and a consultant in hip and knee reconstruction at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Dr. Abdel, who has authored nearly 350 peer-reviewed research publications, is also chair of the Division of Orthopedic Surgery Research. Dr. Abdel is committed to advancing diagnostic tools to accurately and efficiently determine which patients are at risk of developing arthrofibrosis, osteolysis, periprosthetic infections and other major orthopedic conditions.