Author: Elise Pegg -
Introducing Dr Elise Pegg, lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Elise specialises in orthopaedic biomechamics research. Her research focuses on increasing the visibility of surgical sutures, which can improve the long term health of patients.
To make this happen, Elise has collaborated with the global medical device manufacturer, Arthrex, to conduct research and testing in Germany.
Discover how she extended her enthusiasm into research, which enhances both the patients’ well-being and surgeons’ confidence in using sutures.
I'm Elise Pegg. I am a lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. My research is very focused on materials. Materials that are used for medical application.
One of the projects that I am very excited about at the moment is looking at improving the visibility of sutures. Sutures are essentially what surgeons will use to stitch together tissue. They often use long-term sutures for things like ligament reconstruction surgery, or other applications like transplant surgery, but I'm particularly interested in ligament because I can see a lot of improvements that are possible.
In terms of surgery, when a surgeon is going to operate on a patient, they might use a long-term suture. At the moment it's not possible for the surgeon to actually see the suture using medical techniques, such as X-ray and CT. This can be a bit limiting from the perspective of the surgeon. They are reliant on just what they can see with their eyes. It might mean that after the surgery, they can't actually see the suture. They can't see if it's moved or if it's broken, or if it's performing as they hope it would.
The surgery that these implants will be used for, are used to treat all sorts of different issues. One of them is ligament reconstruction surgery. It's most commonly performed in young people, typically athletes, who you would hope have got a long life ahead of them. So, this implant has to last for a very long time. The surgery has to be done as well as possible to reduce the risk of that patient having further issues with that, perhaps a ligament rupture or a result of that ligament not performing properly.
I am really excited by the potential of this research. I think if surgeons are able to perform the surgeries better and have more confidence in their surgeries as a result of the work that I do (but also more importantly the patients are going to have a better quality of life), that is really exciting. That is a wonderful thing and I would be privileged to be a part of that.