Clinical Research


Advancing the musculoskeletal field using multidisciplinary, evidence-based research

The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery continues to pioneer major advances in the care and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries and disorders.

Adult Joint/Total Joint Arthroplasty

Jay Lieberman, MD, focuses his clinical research on improving outcomes after total joint arthroplasty. He uses large administrative databases to analyze total hip and knee arthroplasty patients and patients with osteonecrosis of the hip. His latest research projects relate to enhancing venous thromboembolism prophylaxis after total joint replacement. Lieberman is a pioneer in the development of regional gene therapy strategy to enhance bone repair for complex fractures and revision total joint arthroplasty patients.


Alidad Ghiassi, MD, and Milan Stevanovic, MD, are conducting anatomic studies in wrist fractures to assess the optimum modes of stabilization of distal radius and scaphoid fractures. They are also investigating the utility of ultrasound in percutaneous trigger digit release and working to improve modes of rehabilitation for patients suffering wrist fractures.

Sports Medicine

George F. “Rick” Hatch, MD, works to find new ways to prepare a patient’s body for the severe stress of surgery and improve recovery. He is leading clinical trials to use nutritional and testosterone supplementation to create an environment that promotes healing after surgeries such as rotator cuff repair of the shoulder and ACL reconstruction of the knee. Dr. Hatch is an expert in treating complex knee and shoulder injuries, with a specific interest in the study and treatment of multiligamentous knee injuries (or knee dislocations) and severe cartilage injuries. He reports on optimal techniques for reconstructing complex knee and shoulder injuries in order to restore strength and function as well as prevent reinjury.

Reza Omid, MD, works to improve treatment options for shoulder and elbow disorders. He is currently developing surgical techniques for irreparable rotator cuff tears by investigating variations of tendon transfers around the shoulder, as well as the development of a new vascularized option to supplement current reconstructive procedures.

The research of James Tibone, MD, includes investigations to develop a new tissue graft for massive cuff tears. A recent animal study is testing a new peptide that may slow down the development of degenerative arthritis.

C. Thomas Vangsness, MD, is participating in a clinical trial to assess the potential of stem cells to induce cartilage repair.


Geoffrey Marecek, MD, is interested in optimizing the treatment of open fractures. Under his guidance, Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center and the Keck School of Medicine of USC are participating in an international multicenter study of an antibiotic-impregnated bone void filler. He is also investigating how to improve outcomes for patients with ballistic fractures. In addition, Dr. Marecek has an interest in tibial plateau fractures. He is investigating how to assess the quality of reduction during surgery and how anatomic variations between patients affect this ability. He is also investigating the efficacy of different bone graft substitutes for this type of injury.

Adam Lee, MD, has research interests in pelvic ring stability and its effect on patient outcomes; timing of surgery and its effect on patient outcomes; and patient-reported outcomes in orthopaedic trauma.

Clinical Research Facilities

The department’s faculty, fellows, residents and students have access to a broad and diverse patient population throughout Los Angeles County. We conduct a variety of clinical research projects in tandem with patient care at five primary facilities:

  • Keck Hospital of USC
  • Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
  • Kaiser-Permanente Baldwin Park
  • Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center
  • Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center

The department also has basic science research lab space at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital, located on the USC Health Sciences Campus.