Melodie Metzger, PhD

Research Scientist, General Surgery
Phone:(310) 423-7765
Fax:(310) 248-8016

Academic Appointments

Instructor, Surgery

Research Focus

Biomechanical evaluation of spinal reconstructive devices and techniques used to treat deformative and degenerative conditions. Employ in vitro dynamic and static testing of constructs under physiologic loading conditions and in vivo small animal models to analyze strength, stiffness, and overall feasibility of spinal surgical procedures.

Research Contributions

Our lab has shown vitamin D modulates the consolidation of autograft bone after grafting for spinal fusion suggesting screening and supplementation of vitamin D should be part of the standard treatment of care prior to spinal fusion surgery. We have also helped to determined pre-surgical criteria for artificial disc replacements through biomechanical investigation of extreme spinal geometries.

Current investigations include:

Reducting rates of Proximal Junctional Kyphosis (PJK) thorugh alterations in reconstructive surgical techniques. Better pre-surgical criteria for fusion and determining whether newer 'stand-alone' devices can withstand forces at lumbosacral junction. Minimally-invasive techniques as possible options for adding on to existing spinal fusions. Methods to reduce hardware failure after Pedicle Subtraction Osteotomy (PSO).

Selected Publications

  1. Kennedy A, Coughlin DG, Metzger MF, Tang R, Pearle AD, Lotz JC, Feeley BT: Biomechanical evaluation of pediatric anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction techniques. Am J Sports Med, 39(5): 964-71, 2011
  2. Metzger MF, Faruk Senan NA, O'Reilly OM, Lotz JC: Minimizing errors associated with calculating the location of the helical axis for spinal motions. J Biomech, 43(14): 2822-9, 2010
  3. O'Reilly OM, Metzger MF, Buckley JM, Moody DA, Lotz JC: On the stiffness matrix of the intervertebral joint: application to total disk replacement. J Biomech Eng, 131(8): 081007, 2009
  4. Maitland DJ, Metzger MF, Schumann D, Lee A, Wilson TS: Photothermal properties of shape memory polymer micro-actuators for treating stroke. Lasers Surg Med, 30(1): 1-11, 2002

Lab Information