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SDU Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Vejle Hospital

Senior Consultant, PhD Claus Varnum, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Vejle Hospital, has been appointed Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Department of Regional Health Research, SDU.

By Tomas Homburg, , 3/8/2024

As part of his professorship and together with his department, Claus Varnum will investigate the value of robot-assisted surgery in patients undergoing hip or knee replacement.

Recently, the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Vejle Hospital became the first in Denmark to perform robot-assisted hip and knee surgery with the MAKO system, which uses a three-dimensional model of the joint to be fitted with a prosthesis.

The department will investigate whether there are some groups of patients who benefit more from robot-assisted surgery than others. It will also investigate whether there is a difference in how long the artificial joint lasts when robot-assisted surgery is used. In addition, an important element of future research is to investigate whether using the robot is costly or will result in savings.

In 2016, Claus Varnum defended his PhD thesis on different types of wear surfaces on hip replacements at the University of Southern Denmark. Since then, this field of research has been expanded and several PhD students in the department have dealt with the subject. This has partly been done in collaboration with Norway, Sweden and Finland, who have contributed registry data for studies.

Other research in the department focuses on patients who have damaged anterior cruciate ligaments as well as on competing disorders including overweight, prediabetes and treatment of psychiatric illness among patients who need hip or knee replacement. In research, patient involvement is important, and in a current PhD project on shared decision-making in relation to treatment choice among patients referred with osteoarthritis of the hips and knees, patients have played a key role in the development of a patient decision aid used in the project.

The department is part of a national research collaboration with seven other orthopaedic surgery departments in Denmark, and the common purpose of this collaboration is to improve treatment and benefit for patients undergoing hip and knee replacement. There is a particular focus on examining which patients can be discharged on the same day they have surgery, while ensuring that neither quality nor outcome is compromised. The focus will also be on patients with special risks associated with surgery, such as diabetes and reduced haemoglobin levels.

Claus Varnum graduated as a medical doctor from Aarhus University in 2002. In 2005 he was employed at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Vejle Hospital, where he has been employed since except for two periods totalling 2.5 years, during which he was employed at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Odense University Hospital. Claus Varnum later became a consultant at the Hip Section at Vejle Hospital and in 2022 he was appointed Senior Consultant for Research.

Meet the researcher

Claus Varnum grew up in Allested-Vejle, Central Funen, and is 49 years old. He lives in Vejle and is married to Pernille. Together they have a daughter aged 19 and a son aged 17.


Editing was completed: 08.03.2024