Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have devised an implantable orthopedic sensor that can provide basic data on the state of implants as tissue heals following a surgery. The device is simple and cheap to build, and is powered externally using the same device that reads the data. The researchers hope that the new technology will allow for more regular monitoring of the surgery sites and reduce postoperative CT scans, MRIs, and other expensive tests.
The wireless sensor measures only 4 millimeters in diameter and 500 microns thick. It needs no battery, no external power, and requires no electronics within the body. Instead, the sensor is powered by the external device, which is also used to capture the sensor data.
The sensors look like small coils of wire and are attached to commonly used orthopedic musculoskeletal implants such as rods, plates, or prostheses. Once implanted in the in vivo environment, the sensor can monitor and transmit data about the load, strain, pressure, or temperature of the healing surgery site. The sensor is scalable, tunable, and easy to configure so that it may be incorporated into many different types of implantable orthopedic devices.
One key benefit of this new technology is the possibility of more accurate assessments by physicians for when recovering patients are able to return to work without a risk of further injury.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute announcement: Implantable, Wireless Sensors Share Secrets of Healing Tissues…