Following an orthopedic procedure, surgeons usually rely on X-rays or MRIs to monitor the progress of their patient’s recovery. An interdisciplinary team of researchers from Rensselaer, Albany Medical College, and UAlbany has collaborated to create a new, implantable sensor which can wirelessly transmit data from the site of a recent orthopedic surgery. The new sensors can give surgeons detailed, real-time information from the actual surgery site. This data from inside the body could lead to more accurate assessments of a patient’s recovery, or provide better insight into potential complications.
The new 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 total hip and knee replacements. Once implanted inside the body, 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.
In this study, the research team will investigate methods for reliably mass-producing the sensors, and for integrating the sensors into off-the-shelf orthopedic and neurosurgical implants. Additionally, the researchers will obtain data from clinically relevant pre-clinical models, with a focus on the knee and spine.