Steven Ligthert, M.A.

About me

My B.Sc. studies were focused on joint arthroplasty, especially lumbar and knee. I completed my bachelor in the field of biomechanics at Isfahan University in 2013 with a thesis on “biomechanics of lumbar arthroplasty” which led into manufacturing some primary design of intervertebral disc prosthesis. Having ranked the 40th among the students participating in the nationwide university entrance exam for M.Sc. degree in Mechanical Engineering, Iran, 2013, I was qualified to enter Amir Kabir University of Technology (Tehran Polytechnic) in the field of biomedical engineering-Biomechanics. As a master student I was continuing on joint arthroplasty investigation and did the thesis on “mechanical comparison between 3 clinically approved disc implants to optimum design new disc prosthesis”. After graduation in 2016, I started working in the national medical device directorate in Iran as an orthopedic expert to set up regulatory rules for implant manufacturing factories. Following my practical experience in 2017 I started a new job as a technical supervisor at NAT Company, manufacturing spinal implants and knee prosthesis as well as trauma implants. In October 2018 I came to the Netherlands and started as a Ph.D. student at the Orthopaedic Research Lab under the supervision of Nico Verdonschot and Dennis Janssen.
Steven Ligthert MA

Research Impression

The Orthopaedic Resarch Lab (ORL) is implementing a computer model that predicts fracture risk in the femur (thighbone) in patients with metastatic lesions (cancer and bone metastases).

Bone metastases are the most common form of malignant tumors in the skeleton and often give cancer patients a lot of pain and an increased risk of a pathological fracture. Treatment of bone metastases is based on the fracture risk: patients with a low fracture risk get pain relief (for example with radiotherapy), while patients with a high risk of fracture are eligible for a preventive stabilizing operation to prevent a pathological fracture.

In current clinical practice, the fracture risk is estimated on the basis of X-rays or CT scans, with particular attention to the location and size of the lesion(s); no biomechanical information is included in the risk assessment. However, these fracture predictors are insufficiently accurate, which means that many patients are over- and under-treated. That is why we have developed a patient-specific finite-element computer model within the ORL, with which we can better estimate the risk of fracture. A biomechanical calculation of bone strength is done based on a CT scan.

The added value of this computer model has now been scientifically substantiated. The next step is to implement the computer model in clinical practice, starting at the radiotherapy centers where most patients with bone metastases are treated, in order to improve care for this group of patients in their final phase of life and to prevent under- and over-treatment.

I’m managing the implementation of this tool. Some of my tasks are:

  • Make contact with clinical centers, PR (attend conferences, hold presentations in (radiotherapy) departments), recruit new institutes;
  • Coordinate logistics: for example, exchange of (anonymous) patient data;
  • Start procedure to obtain CE certification;
  • Evaluation after implementation: with doctors through interviews and with patients through questionnaires;
  • Follow-up of patients via Electronic Patient Dossier;