News items Ingrid van der Geest appointed Professor of Orthopedics

5 April 2024

Orthopedic surgeon Ingrid van der Geest has been appointed Professor of Orthopedics, particularly Orthopedic Oncology at Radboud university medical center / Radboud University. Her appointment follows her appointment as head of the Department of Orthopedic surgery at Radboudumc. Within her research line, she focuses on the most optimal treatment of cartilaginous tumors in the bone and the treatment of metastatic bone disease. 

Patients treated by the orthopedic surgeons at Radboud university medical center have a wide range of conditions, ranging from spinal disorders, joint deformities to bone tumors. Additionally, Radboudumc is one of the centers where children receive orthopedic care. 

‘We have a significant referral function in the region and operate on patients who are already known here due to complex conditions, or patients with orthopedic complex issues. Also, many trauma patients are treated at Radboudumc, leading to intensive collaboration between the Departments of trauma surgery and orthopedics’, says Ingrid van der Geest, who has been head of the Department of Orthopedic surgery since March 1, 2023. 

Musculoskeletal health

Furthermore, education is an important aspect for Van der Geest and colleagues, extending beyond the training of future orthopedic surgeons. Particularly during the studies of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, knowledge of the musculoskeletal system, including bones, skeletal muscles, joints, capsules, cartilage, and ligaments, is crucial, according to Van der Geest. ‘According to the WHO, musculoskeletal pain ranks in the top three in terms of its impact on people's daily functioning. Therefore, thorough and sufficient knowledge of the musculoskeletal system is also crucial for, for example, general practitioners and occupational health physicians. We provide this education so that an important part of patients can be treated in primary care.’ 

Monitoring cartilaginous tumors with MRI scans

Ingrid van der Geest's research line is focused on cartilaginous bone tumors. These tumors occur in about 300 patients per year. In 250 of them, the tumor is not malignant, but falls into the 'intermediate' class. For a long time, these tumors were surgically removed, but research by Van der Geest has shown that surgery is not always necessary, as the tumor does not grow and is not malignant. ‘This was really good news. In most patients, the tumor did not grow, in some only a few millimeters over a few years. Therefore, we now advise monitoring patients with MRI scans instead of surgery.’ 

This research continues, as MRI scans provide a lot of information. Based on this, Van der Geest wants to determine how long and how often patient follow-ups are necessary. She also wants to determine more accurately which treatment is necessary for which patient. ‘This way, we can cure patients with high-grade bone sarcoma with surgery on the one hand and save patients from surgery for a benign bone abnormality on the other’, says Van der Geest. 

Computational modelling

In other research by Van der Geest, she looks at metastatic bone disease as a result of, for example, breast cancer or prostate cancer. ‘The life expectancy of these patients is often much longer, even if they have metastatic bone disease. But metastatic bone disease is often very painful and has a significant impact on the quality of life. Therefore, good treatment is crucial.’ Van der Geest and her research team work with a computer model that calculates the likelihood of a bone fracture as a result of metastatic bone disease. ‘This BOS score is being implemented by more and more hospitals. This allows us to really improve care for these patients.’ 

Van der Geest also develops and investigates models to better understand bone tumors, allowing for more targeted treatment. ‘We still don't always know why a tumor behaves the way it does. Why is a tumor sometimes malignant and sometimes not? If we develop a better understanding of this, we can improve treatments.’ Because ultimately, her goal is to give patients the appropriate treatment to maximize their quality of life. 


Ingrid van der Geest studied Medicine at Radboud University in Nijmegen. She obtained her doctorate in Nijmegen on research into bone tumors (thesis title: Bone and soft tissue tumors - Results of cryosurgical treatment and quality of life studies). In the Regional Orthopedic Training Group East, a collaboration between Sint Maartenskliniek, Radboudumc, and Rijnstate, she was trained as an orthopedic surgeon. Since 2011, she has been a staff member of the Department of Orthopedic surgery at Radboudumc. Since March 1, 2023, she leads that Department. The appointment as Professor of Orthopedics begins on April 1, 2024, for a period of five years. 

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Pauline Dekhuijzen

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