Revolution in orthopedic surgery at CHU Sainte-Justine and Polytechnique Montréal

Revolution in orthopedic surgery at CHU Sainte-Justine and Polytechnique 
Montréal 
Patients will regain a normal spinal column thanks to the Chair in Spinal 
Biomechanics, which has been renewed to pave the way for the future of surgery 
MONTREAL, March 26, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Caroline Villeneuve and Jordan Lemay 
are among the 2% to 3% of young Quebecers who have idiopathic scoliosis, a 
three-dimensional deformity of the spine that predominantly affects young 
girls, although the reason why is still not clearly understood. With the 
renewal of the NSERC/Medtronic Industrial Research Chair in Spine 
Biomechanics, whose Chairholder is Professor Carl-Éric Aubin of Polytechnique 
Montréal and Sainte-Justine University Hospital Centre, children and adults 
with spinal problems, like Caroline and Jordan, will benefit someday from the 
"surgery of the future" that researchers are currently working on. 
After wearing a brace for nine months, Caroline had to undergo surgery in 2010 
because of the rapid progression of the three-dimensional deformity in her 
spine. The surgery was carried out by Dr. Stefan Parent at CHU Sainte-Justine, 
a world-renowned centre for the treatment of this condition. After a five-hour 
operation, Caroline emerged with two metal rods and 20 screws, 10 fused 
vertebrae and a 12-inch scar. She was able to start walking only two days 
after the surgery. Just a few years ago, she would have had to wear a plaster 
cast, been immobile and remain in hospital for several months. 
Today, Caroline is a radiant 16-year-old girl who will finish her Secondary 5 
year of high school in a few months. She has written a "survival guide" for 
patients diagnosed with scoliosis. She no longer has any medical limitations 
and is getting ready to compete in the finals of the Blainville en Chansons 
music competition. 
Jordan is a cheerful 10-year-old boy who was recently diagnosed with 
progressive scoliosis and will undergo corrective spinal surgery during the 
summer. 
Caroline and Jordan say they owe a great deal to the Montréal research teams 
that are working on perfecting orthopedic surgical tools, such as the team 
headed by Professor Aubin of Polytechnique Montréal, who is also a researcher 
at CHU Sainte-Justine and holder of the NSERC/Medtronic Industrial Research 
Chair in Spine Biomechanics. 
As a result of the advances made in the past five years, the Natural Sciences 
and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and Medtronic have renewed 
their support, thereby giving this chair a second five-year mandate to 
continue its work. The two institutions will each contribute $875,000, for a 
total of $1.75 million; Medtronic will also make an in-kind contribution of 
$519,000. 
Engineering and medicine join forces to optimize treatments 
Corrective surgery for scoliosis is complicated. Selecting the section of the 
spine to operate on, the type of implant to use, the forces to apply and 
predicting how the spine will adjust are just some of the challenges facing 
surgeons who operate using an empirical approach. During the first term of the 
chair, Professor Aubin asked the best surgeons in the world to share the 
strategies they would use to operate on a specific case put forward by the 
team of researchers in Montréal. The result: 30 surgeons came up with 30 
different strategies. 
Between 2007 and 2012, the Polytechnique/CHU Sainte-Justine team developed 
many tools to solve problems that orthopedic surgeons face when treating 
spinal conditions such as scoliosis, spondylolisthesis and poor balance. The 
research work carried out by the chair helped develop a spine surgery 
simulator, micro-implants to control the growth of the spine, as well as a 
variety of multifunctional operating tables. 
The renewed support from the NSERC and Medtronic will enable Professor Aubin's 
team to work through until 2018 on new projects that will include designing 
simulation tools aimed at better understanding the underlying principles of 
the treatments, designing and validating innovative devices that do not 
require fusing the vertebrae and that are as minimally invasive as possible, 
as well as developing a navigation/simulation system, similar to GPS, to 
assist and optimize surgeries, thereby changing the very concept of what will 
become the "operating room of the future." The system will use cameras to 
determine the positioning of the surgeon's tools and of the anatomic 
structures. During the surgery, the software will simulate the installation of 
the implants as well as the corrective manoeuvres, and indicate the precise 
adjustments to make to preoperative planning in order to optimize the surgery. 
"It takes many years of work to make small advances in the treatment of 
conditions as complex as idiopathic scoliosis," emphasizes Professor Aubin, 
who is also chief of the musculoskeletal disorders and rehabilitation axis at 
CHU Sainte-Justine. "The cases of Caroline, Jordan and other patients treated 
at CHU Sainte-Justine are, however, a great source of motivation for me and my 
team. We need the support provided by NSERC and Medtronic to continue our 
research and we are very grateful to them." 
For his part, Dr. Fabrice Brunet, Chief Executive Officer of CHU 
Sainte-Justine, says: "The work done by the NSERC/Medtronic Chair is fully in 
keeping with a value that CHUSainte-Justine promotes: research results that 
benefit patients directly. This is made possible by the fact that our 
researchers are directly involved with the patients at every stage of their 
journey in our hospital. We couldn't imagine a better way of integrating 
research and care." 
And Christophe Guy, Chief Executive Officer of Polytechnique Montréal, adds: 
"I am very pleased that the research activities will continue for a second 
five-year term, thanks to the renewed support of the NSERC and Medtronic. It 
is a significant gesture of confidence that confirms the excellence of the 
work being done and the desire to continue working steadily to treat such a 
complex condition." 
"We are proud to support the ongoing and ground-breaking research of Pr. Aubin 
and his team," said Mr. Terry Finley, Senior Director of Restorative Therapies 
Group, Medtronic of Canada. "His pioneering in biomechanical engineering and 
medical technologies has benefitted and enabled so many patients, particularly 
people living with scoliosis, to live full, pain-free lives, and has led 
innovation in Quebec." 
About the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center
The Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center is a leading 
mother-child research institution affiliated with the Université de 
Montréal. It brings together more than 1200people, including over 250 
researchers and 450 graduate and post-graduate students who carry out 
fundamental, clinical, translational, and evaluative research on mother and 
child health. Research work falls under six research axes, namely Health 
Outcomes; Brain Diseases; Musculoskeletal Diseases and Rehabilitation; Viral 
and Immune Disorders and Cancers; Fetomaternal and Neonatal Pathologies; and 
Metabolic Health. It is focused on finding innovative prevention means, faster 
and less invasive treatments, as well as personalized approaches to medicine. 
The Center is part of the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Centre, which is 
the largest mother-child centre in Canada and the second most important 
pediatric center in North America. www.chu-Sainte-Justine.org/research/ 
About the CHU Sainte-Justine
The Sainte-Justine University Hospital Centre is the largest mother-child 
centre in Canada and the second most important pediatric centre in North 
America. It is a member of the Réseau d'excellence en santé of the 
Université de Montréal (RUIS). Its team is composed of 5 153 employees, 
including 1392 nurses and auxiliary nurses; 1 036 health care professionals; 
520 doctors, dentists and pharmacists; more than 250 researchers; 300 
volunteers; and 3 400 interns and students of all disciplines. It has 484 
beds, 35 of which are located at the Rehabilitation Centre Marie Enfant, the 
only pediatric rehabilitation centre in Quebec. The WHO has accredited the CHU 
Sainte-Justine as a "Health Promoting Hospital." www.hsj.qc.ca 
About NSERC
NSERC is a federal agency that helps make Canada a country of discoverers and 
innovators for all Canadians. The agency supports some 30,000 post-secondary 
students and postdoctoral fellows in their advanced studies. NSERC promotes 
discovery by funding more than 12,000 professors every year and fosters 
innovation by encouraging about 2,000 Canadian companies to participate and 
invest in post-secondary research projects. www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca 
About Medtronic
Medtronic of Canada Ltd. is a trusted Canadian leader delivering innovative 
health system solutions and advanced medical technologies to alleviate pain, 
restore health, and extend life in the areas of cardiovascular medicine, 
diabetes, spinal and neurosurgery, and ear, nose, throat surgery. Medtronic is 
proud to employ more than 745 Canadians. Headquartered in Brampton, Ontario, 
Medtronic has regional offices in Vancouver and Montreal, including a 
manufacturing facility, Medtronic CryoCath, located in Pointe-Claire, Quebec. 
www.medtronic.ca 
Medtronic, Inc. (www.medtronic.com), headquartered in Minneapolis, is the 
global leader in medical technology - alleviating pain, restoring health, and 
extending life for millions of people around the world. 
About Polytechnique Montréal
Founded in 1873, Polytechnique Montréal is one of Canada's leading 
engineering teaching and research institutions. It is the largest engineering 
university in Québec for the size of its student body and the scope of its 
research activities. With over 40,000 graduates, Polytechnique Montréal has 
educated nearly one-quarter of the current members of the Ordre des 
ingénieurs du Québec. Polytechnique provides training in 15 engineering 
specialties, has 242 professors and more than 7,100 students. It has an annual 
operating budget of over $200 million, including a $72-million research 
budget. www.polymtl.ca 
Carl-Éric Aubin, professor and chairholder,Dr. Stefan Parent, orthopedic 
surgeonand Caroline Villeneuve, patient, will be available for interviews. 
Available upon request: - Caroline Villeneuve's story - Computer-generated 
images - Fact sheet and a patient's journey - Photos of Professor Carl-Éric 
Aubin with Caroline Villeneuve, Jordan  Lemay and Dr. Stefan Parent 
Source and information: 
Nathalie Rochette Communications Advisor Communications and Public Relations 
Office Polytechnique Montréal nathalie.rochette@polymtl.ca Tel.: 514 
340-4711, ext. 2339 Cell: 514 941-5660 
Mélanie Dallaire Senior Communications Advisor, Media Relations Bureau de la 
Direction générale Communications and Public Affairs CHU Sainte-Justine 
melanie.dallaire.hsj@ssss.gouv.qc.ca Tel.: 514 345-7707 Pager: 514 415-5727 
SOURCE: Polytechnique Montréal 
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CO: Medtronic
ST: Quebec
NI: EDU HEA *  
-0- Mar/26/2013 14:30 GMT