As a research scientist at the Salt Lake City VA Medical Center and the Department of Orthopaedics at the University of Utah since 1989, Dr. Bachus has led or co-authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications dealing with the engineering and testing of medical devices. Since 2004, however, his research has converged to one mission – to help amputees return to pre-amputation levels of activities. These research efforts have been funded by the VA RR&D, the NIH, and the Department of Defense.
Clearly, limb amputation is a devastating event with an associated loss of daily function coupled with a dramatic change of life. Suspension-type docking of an exoprosthesis to the residual limb is currently the standard of care, but is not suitable for all limb loss patients. The technology fails when applied to short residual limbs caused by severe battlefield injuries. Even patients successfully fitted with suspension-type attachments can be dissatisfied because they frequently experience discomfort and pain. High velocity trauma-related heterotopic ossification is prevalent within many of these patients, reducing their quality of life by causing suspension fit problems and limiting their range of motion. In fact, heterotopic ossification patients loading their suspension-type attachments can compress local soft tissues that can cause severe skin necrosis. It is for these patients that alternative docking systems, namely the Percutaneous Osseointegrated Docking System (PODS) devices, are being developed.
The Bachus Research Group maintains active collaborations with surgeons and researchers in the Department of Orthopaedics and the Department of Plastic Surgery at the University of Utah Medical Center, as well as the Department of Bioengineering, and the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Utah.