University of Arizona engineers and orthopedic specialists built an ultra-thin wireless sensor that is designed to monitor bone health for long periods of time. The battery-free device is designed to measure a variety of physiological parameters, such as temperature and bone tension, and could be useful for patients with osteoporosis or to control healing and guide rehabilitation after a fracture. The device sticks to the bone surface using a calcium adhesive, which encourages the bone to grow and fuse with the surface of the device for long-term implantation.
Nowadays, it is difficult to know exactly how a bone is cured. Physiological responses may vary from patient to patient, making personalized treatment difficult. Understanding how a bone is healing and how it responds to treatment could help guide that treatment to be as effective as possible and prevent any unwanted side effects, paving the way for more personalized orthopedic medical care.
“Being able to monitor the health of the musculoskeletal system is very important,” Philipp Gutruf, a researcher involved in the study, said in an announcement from the University of Arizona. “With this interface, you basically have a computer in your bone. This technology platform allows us to create research tools for scientists to discover how the musculoskeletal system works and use the information gathered to benefit recovery and therapy.”
The device is designed to monitor bone health for long periods and could be especially useful for patients who are at increased risk for refractures and bone problems, such as those with osteoporosis. Technology could also help with clinical decisions, such as when to remove plaques or screws from a bone.
“As a surgeon, I am very excited to use the measurements collected with osteosurface electronics to one day offer my patients individualized orthopedic care, with the goal of accelerating rehabilitation and maximizing function after injury. traumatic, ”said Dr. David Margolis, another researcher involved in the study.
The device was designed to be very thin, about as thick as a sheet of paper, so that it could be stretched to the bone without irritating the muscles above it and adapting to the bone surface. Battery-free technology relies on power transmission and near-field communication to obtain power and communicate with external devices, such as a smartphone.
Finally, a single adhesive made up of calcium particles helps the device adhere to the bone surface for extended periods of time. “Bone basically believes that the device is part of it and grows up to the same sensor,” Gutruf said. “This allows it to form a permanent bond with the bone and take action over long periods of time.”
Study a Communications of nature: Osteosurface electronics: thin, wireless, battery-free and multimodal musculoskeletal interfaces