What is smart endoprosthetics?

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 04.09.2021

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28 May 2021, 09:00

American orthopedic specialists predicted the imminent introduction of "smart" knee-joint endoprostheses into medical practice.

Representatives from Stony Brook University, the University of Western Ontario and the University of Binghamton have mastered the technological ability to control artificial joint wear and manage rehabilitation.

Surgery for joint replacement of the knee joint - this is one of the most common orthopedic operations. Many of these interventions have to be repeated in order to replace a broken or worn prosthesis.

Most often, young physically active people seek medical help, who, even after artificial knee replacement, continue to maintain physical activity and lead an active lifestyle. However, this activity has its “minus”: the endoprosthesis wears out quickly, and it becomes necessary to perform a second replacement.

Almost never, doctors do not know and cannot know about the degree of physical activity of patients who underwent arthroplasty: they only record the wear of the joint and prescribe the next revision. For young people, repeating the operation every 5-10 years is a rather serious problem, and not only financial. Therefore, many patients are trying to find a "golden mean" between adequate physical activity for health and avoiding unnecessary stress on the joint.

American researchers tackled this problem and eventually created a "smart" knee-articular endoprosthesis capable of monitoring and controlling motor load.

The endoprosthesis contains built-in sensors that record the pressure on the joint and give an idea of the degree of wear of the implant. This innovation gives the patient the opportunity to monitor the condition of the prosthesis, if necessary, limit the load and thereby extend the period of use of the implant.

Since the use of a removable battery in an endoprosthesis did not seem very convenient to scientists, they developed an autonomous energy generation mechanism capable of energizing the device due to joint movement.

At the moment, the "smart" device has already been tested on a special test bench. The essence of the development is as follows: during movement, the artificial joint produces friction with its surfaces, feeding the load sensors. According to preliminary studies, this nutrition does not require significant physical activity at all. Even a simple walk will generate enough microwatts to power the sensors.

The development of more durable endoprostheses will allow patients to improve their quality of life less often to seek orthopedic care.

Information provided on the page: Binghamton university

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