Orthopaedic smart device provides personalized medicine

Imagine a smart sensor customized to provide vital, real-time information about a patient's recent orthopaedic surgery. Instead of relying on X-rays or invasive procedures, surgeons will be able to collect diagnostic data from an implantable sensor. A study presented at the Orthopaedic Research Society 2012 Annual Meeting in San Francisco outlined this remarkable technology that promises to make post-surgical diagnosis and follow up more precise, efficient, and cost-effective.

"The sensor provides opportunities to make specific and detailed diagnostics for a particular patient and to tailor care based on very objective and quantitative measures," said Eric H. Ledet, PhD, Assistant Professor, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

"This highly unique sensor is very small (4 mm diameter and 500 microns thick), is wireless, batteryless, and requires no telemetry within the body. Its simplicity makes it less prone to failure and very inexpensive to produce," Dr. Ledet explained.

The orthopaedic implant acts as a carrier for the sensor. The can monitor load, strain, motion, temperature, and pressure in the challenging in vivo environment. It can be placed into a spinal or fracture fixation implant, for example, to determine the patient's progress.

"For the patient that is progressing well, the information from the sensor enables the physician to determine that the patient can return to work without risk of injury," said Dr. Ledet. "The number of lost days at work is reduced."

It can also alert the physician to potential problems, indicating that additional interventions may be needed. "By maintaining a simple platform, we're able to customize the sensor and make it very, very small so it can be incorporated into a lot of different implants," said Rebecca A. Wachs, MS, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. "By changing one small parameter, we can change the sensitivity of the sensor itself."

Dr. Ledet reports a number of major breakthroughs with the in the last eighteen months. Although the researchers are manually producing the sensor, they anticipate it will eventually be mass produced—driving the price down further.

Provided by Orthopaedic Research Society

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Sensor chip for monitoring tumors

Aug 26, 2011

A chip implant may soon be capable of monitoring tumors that are difficult to operate on or growing slowly. Medical engineers at Technische Universitaet Muenchen have developed an electronic sensor chip that can determine ...

Pressure sensors in the eye

Sep 03, 2007

Sensors can monitor production processes, unmask tiny cracks in aircraft hulls, and determine the amount of laundry in a washing machine. In future, they will also be used in the human body and raise the alarm ...

Sensor in artery measures blood pressure

Jan 05, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- High blood pressure can be a trial of patience for doctors and for sufferers, whose blood pressure often has to be monitored over a long time until it can be regulated. This will now be made ...

Recommended for you

New approach to particle therapy dosimetry

Dec 19, 2014

Researchers at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), in collaboration with EMRP partners, are working towards a universal approach to particle beam therapy dosimetry.

Supplement maker admits lying about ingredients

Dec 17, 2014

Federal prosecutors say the owner and president of a dietary supplement company has admitted his role in the sale of diluted and adulterated dietary ingredients and supplements sold by his company.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.