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Radiologists commonly use contrast agents to improve resolution and acuity when employing MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). Introducing MRI contrast agents to the tissue in the innermost part of the femoroacetabular joint is extremely difficult because the anatomy prevents the contrast agents from infiltrating those surfaces. Therefore, getting the ideal image resolution and making diagnosis of the hip is difficult. The objective was to design a product that would successfully distract one hip joint while also stabilizing the patient’s pelvis to improve visualization so that physicians are able to better diagnose the hip. The deliverables included a preliminary model that illustrates how the device will move and apply load, and a minimal viable prototype of the traction device. A platform was designed to contain each component. Traction was applied with a winch that employed a ratchet gear system. The winch could be translated to either side of the platform via pins holding the winch and gears in place. Stabilizing components included pegs strategically placed under the arms and in the groin area. To alleviate some of the psychological concerns a patient may have, a release mechanism was incorporated into the design. The patient would pull the rope that is attached to the velcro strap on the ankle brace to release their foot from the ankle brace in traction. The spring for the spring scale will be made from beryllium copper because it is non ferromagnetic and is ideal for use as a tension spring. The platform, pegs, winch, and spring box were made from pine plywood. MRI images were taken with and without use of the traction device prototype, and there was a noticeable difference in the space between the femoral head and acetabulum. Our method of providing traction was sufficient and effective in distracting and stabilizing the hip joint.

Publication Date



biomedical engineering, MRI, hip


Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering | Engineering

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Jennifer Wayne

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Peter Haar

VCU Capstone Design Expo Posters


© The Author(s)

Date of Submission

August 2016

MRI Hip Joint Traction Device