students examining a pony  

Advancing the health and well-being of animals and people

Rolfe Radcliffe

Rolfe Radcliffe
Cornell University
College of Veterinary Medicine
C2530 CPC, Box 25
Ithaca, NY 14853
P: (607) 253-4314
F: (607) 253-3271

Research/Clinical Interests

My clinical and research interests are diverse and include orthopedics, soft tissue surgery, and large animal emergency critical care, with specific interests in minimally invasive large animal surgery and the development of new surgical techniques.

Within the orthopedic field, I studied the Interlocking Intramedullary Nail (IIN) as a method of internal fixation of fractures in immature foal femurs during my residency training in large animal surgery.  Through this research I gained valuable insight into the biomechanics of bone and implant materials, methods of testing, and appropriate statistical analysis of data.  As a member of the Comparative Orthopedic Research Group at the Ontario Veterinary College, I gained additional training in bone and joint research including osteochondral graft transplantation, cartilage stress response, and tendon reattachment.  At Cornell University, I have studied the anatomy of the pastern joint in reference to arthroscopic access and treatment.  Specifically, we reported on the palmar/ plantar pastern anatomy and clinical outcome of four horses with osteochondral fragmentation in this location of the joint.

In the field of soft tissue surgery, I have interests in laparoscopy and gastrointestinal surgery.  At the Ontario Veterinary College, I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Ludovic Bouré and participate in several new laparoscopic procedures for the college, including laparoscopic tumoral ovarioectomy, bladder stone removal, and nephrosplenic space closure.  At Cornell University, I have implemented the use of laparoscopy for teaching the art of rectal palpation to veterinary students.  Even though laparoscopy has become a standard in the field, the practice of minimally invasive surgery continues to evolve, and much remains to be learned.  Laparoscopy as a tool in large animal surgery is exciting and I will contribute to its further development in our field.  I am also interested in expanding new techniques in the field of gastrointestinal surgery to help improve treatment outcomes, decrease complications, improve prognostication, and advance our knowledge. 

Further in the field of large animal emergency and critical care, I have studied and published on the use of L-lactate and cardiac troponin I for prognostication in horses undergoing emergency abdominal surgery.  This project evaluated the use Cardiac Troponin I as a survival marker for surgical diseases of the abdomen in horses.  Our results suggest that evaluating L-lactate concentration throughout hospitalization may be useful as a predictor of survival, with markedly elevated concentrations prior to surgery, and persistently abnormal or increasing ones postoperatively suggesting a guarded prognosis for survival.   In addition, we are studying OxyVita, a polymeric hemoglobin solution designed for use as a blood substitute.  This animal trial using goats will evaluate the safety and efficacy of the OxyVita hemoglobin-based oxygen carrier solution in a model of acute hemorrhagic shock.

My current research projects at Cornell University include laparoscopy as a tool for teaching rectal palpation skills to students, residents and veterinarians, pre-clinical testing of OxyVita, developing an innovative surgical approach to the spheno-palantine sinus in the horse, the use of a novel wound repair system in horses, and the application of a human vascular cannula system for the treatment of jugular thrombosis in horses.