Anderson Orthopaedic Research Institute (AORI)

Anderson Orthopaedic Research Institute's (AORI's) long-term studies have led to new insights and the innovation of orthopaedic products. The benefits of such studies were dramatically exemplified by the development of first FDA-approved, porous-coated, cementless hip implant. This hip implant was pioneered by Anderson Clinic physician Dr. Charles Engh in the early 1970s, and has been the subject of numerous follow-up studies at our Institute.

Long-term studies also shed light on the effectiveness of surgical techniques and the processes of patient care. We disseminate our findings through peer-review journals, orthopaedic text books, lay publications, videos, and other means.

AORI publications discuss orthopaedic issues such as:

  • long-term effectiveness of cementless implants
  • principles of biological fixation
  • wear of polyethylene liners in hip and knee replacement
  • evaluation of osteolysis with CT scanning
  • results of unicondylar arthroplasty
  • effect of various processing techniques on polyethylene performance
  • revision hip and knee techniques and results
  • techniques for total hip and total knee arthroplasties

Behind AORI's Research -- Unique Resources

Because of AORI's relationship with the Anderson Orthopaedic Clinic, we have been able to develop invaluable research tools

A Computerized Database. A database of over 10,000 patients with total joint replacements. This database provides long-term clinical and functional outcomes of our surgical patients. The forms that are completed at each patient visit help to contribute to this invaluable resource.

Radiographic Archives. Our radiographic archives make it possible to track the long-term progress of patients and their implants.

Postmortem-retrieved Hip and Knee Implants. Our collection of postmortem-retrieved hip and knee implants is now one of largest such collections in the world. This resource also is a living testimony to past patients who shared our dedication to the improvement of orthopaedics.

With these resources, our research staff members analyze factors that affect the outcomes of knee and hip replacements, such as:

  • patient factors before and after surgery
  • the longevity of implant
  • mechanical, biological, and patient factors that contribute to failures

AORI's Beginning -- One Man's Mission

The Anderson Orthopaedic Research Institute (AORI) began in the late 1930s as one man's mission to improve the health of patients with musculoskeletal disorders. AORI founder, the late Dr. Otto Anderson Engh, dedicated his career to addressing the great need for orthopaedic services in the Washington DC area. He began by starting a community clinic for crippled children. He later began the first area hospital for orthopaedics -- the National Hospital for Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation in Arlington -- and opened the Anderson Clinic in Arlington, Virginia. While the National Hospital has since been closed, the clinic remains in this same location. In the 1990's, the joint replacement center was opened at the INOVA Mt. Vernon Hospital, and the research Institute has its offices there as well.

Believing in the necessity of research to improve the art of orthopaedics, Dr. Otto started AORI in 1972. Today, his vision continues to grow, as the Anderson Orthopaedic Clinic physicians - Drs. Charles and Gerard Engh, Dr Andy Engh, Dr William Hamilton, and Dr. Kevin Fricka - and a Board of Directors guide the efforts of this not-for-profit institute.

Patients Playing their Part in Research

AORI appreciates the generosity of Anderson Clinic patients, who have supported our research and, thus, the welfare of future patients, in numerous ways, including volunteer work, bequests to our implant retrieval program, and financial support.

Furthermore, the physicians at the Anderson Clinic are frequently conducting studies that require involvement and consent for patient participation. The success of the research studies is dependant on the multitude of patients who have agreed to participate over the years.

AORI's Implant Retrieval Program

Understanding the impact they can have on research after their deaths, many Anderson Clinic patients have bequeathed their prosthetic devices to our institute. Because of their dedication to research, AORI now has an extensive collection of cementless hip and knee implants retrieved postmortem. AORI also collects implants that have been removed during revision surgery because of infection or failure. These invaluable specimens enable our researchers to determine histological and mechanical changes.

Financial Support

Support for AORI, a 501c nonprofit institute, comes from various sources. Patients happy with the results of their surgery frequently want to "give something back." AORI's annual direct mail campaign and planned giving program are two opportunities for individuals to support joint replacement research. Essential assistance also comes from research grants from the Inova Health System, foundations, and corporations.