The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 29, 2005

UI Receives Grant To Study Spinal Disc Replacement Implants

Researchers in the University of Iowa Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation will use a $2.6 million grant to lead a multi-national study of mechanical wear that occurs with intervertebral disc replacement implants.

Thomas Brown, Ph.D., a professor of orthopaedics in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, will lead the overall study. Sergio Mendoza, M.D., clinical assistant professor of orthopaedics and an orthopaedic surgeon with UI Hospitals and Clinics, also will serve on the research team. The National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded the five-year grant.

Intervertebral disc replacement implants are often commonly referred to as "artificial spinal discs."

"Intervetebral disc replacement is rapidly gaining momentum in North America and Europe, despite a lack of information about how these implants will perform over the long term, especially regarding wear and loosening," Brown said. "This study will help us answer those questions for current and future implants."

Mendoza added, "This study places the University of Iowa in a strong position to provide testing standards for the industry."

The UI researchers will work in partnership with British investigators at the University of Leeds and German investigators at Spine Center Munich. This NIH-funded research will develop new techniques to monitor implant wear from patients' X-rays and new laboratory testing techniques to help reduce wear rates in current and future implant designs.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at

STORY SOURCE: Joint Office for Marketing and Communications, University of Iowa Health Care, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room E110 GH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Moore, 319-356-3945,