The Comparative Orthopaedic Surgical Facility was founded by orthopaedic surgeon Dr. John Field. The facility provides animal models of human diseases (primarily in sheep) for the evaluation of new devices and technologies as a prelude to clinical assessment.

This dedicated facility undertakes diverse surgical research on these large animals and consists of an operating theatre, radiology, recovery and minor procedure facilities.

Additionally, this facility acquired a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) unit during 2007 to enhance its research capability and provide an animal soft tissue diagnosis service to veterinarians throughout South Australia, clinicians and researchers at Flinders Medical Centre (FMC) and the IMVS, Adelaide.

The surgery is coupled with animal holding pens on-site. The facility provides a world-class service to multiple commercial clients in the orthopaedic and pharmaceutical industries around the world. The Laboratory is well supported by the Flinders University Animal House.


  • X-ray
  • Radiostereometric Analysis
  • Digital X-ray
  • Arthroscopy
  • Computed Tomography
  • Biomechanical Evaluation
  • Histology


  • Radiology
  • Recovery and perioperative care
  • Animal holding pens and adjoining pasture
  • New MRI equipment
  • Digital X-ray system
  • Battery powered drills and oscillating saw
  • All surgical equipment including hip reamers/broaches
  • Orthopaedic Trauma equipment…plates/screws/instruments
  • 4.00 mm Arthoscope with 3 chip camera
  • Radiostereometric Analysis…software and instruments
  • Back-up bench top X-ray processor
  • Two X-ray machines with large and small digital and analogue cassettes
  • Necropsy table
  • Operating table
  • Theatre lights
  • Inhalational gaseous anaesthetic (Isoflurane) – 2 machines with ventilators
  • Electro-cautery
  • 3-D reconstruction software (Amira) TLA and Analyze
  • UMAX transmission scanner
  • Weight scale for sheep
  • Autoclave

Services Currently Available:

  • Comparative surgical studies in large animal models that provide clients with detailed evaluations. These evaluations have included:
    • Total Hip and Knee replacement to evaluate new componentry
    • Hemiarthroplasty
    • Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
    • Segmental defects of the femur and tibia using locking intramedullary nails
    • Bone plating and screw mechanics in fracture repair
    • Meniscal defect repair
    • Large animal models for evaluation of the biological response of bone to new compounds using either a femoral cancellous and cortical plug model or femoral condyle assessment of bone in growth