Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

David E. Thompson


This research has been directed at studying and developing a prototype research and clinical Computer Aided Design (CAD) tool to be used for planning tendon paths in hand reconstructive surgery. Of equal importance is the goal of having an educational tool for teaching hand biomechanics to students of this specialty. The application of CAD to rehabilitative surgery of the hand is a new field of endeavor. There are currently no existing commercial products designed to assist the orthopedic surgeon in planning these complex procedures. Additionally, orthopedic surgeons are not trained in mechanics, kinematics, math modeling, or the use of computers. It was also our intent to study the mechanisms and the efficacy of the application of CAD techniques to tendon transfer surgery. Through this research the following advances have been made: (1) creation of interactive 3D tendon path definition tools. (2) creation of software to calculate tendon excursion from an arbitrary tendon path crossing any number of joints. (3) creation of a model to interactively compute and display the forces in muscle and tendon. (4) creation of an environment to help surgeons evaluate the consequences of a simulated tendon transfer operation when a tendon is lengthened, rerouted, or reattached in a new location. It also has been one of the primary concerns in this research that an interactive graphical surgical workstation must present a natural, user-friendly environment to the orthopedic surgeon user. Additionally, this workstation must ultimately aid the surgeon in helping his patient or in doing his work more efficiently or more reliably. This work therefore includes a study of the usefulness of such a workstation as perceived by the orthopedic surgery community.