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Smart implants in orthopedic surgery, improving patient outcomes: a review

Authors Ledet EH, Liddle B, Kradinova K, Harper S

Received 15 January 2018

Accepted for publication 22 May 2018

Published 29 August 2018 Volume 2018:5 Pages 41—51

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IEH.S133518

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Cristina Weinberg

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Rubin Pillay


Eric H Ledet,1,2 Benjamin Liddle,1 Katerina Kradinova,1 Sara Harper1

1Department of Biomedical Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, USA; 2R&D Service, Stratton VA Medical Center, Albany, NY, USA

Abstract: Smart implants are implantable devices that provide not only therapeutic benefits but also have diagnostic capabilities. The integration of smart implants into daily clinical practice has the potential for massive cost savings to the health care system. Applications for smart orthopedic implants have been identified for knee arthroplasty, hip arthroplasty, spine fusion, fracture fixation and others. To date, smart orthopedic implants have been used to measure physical parameters from inside the body, including pressure, force, strain, displacement, proximity and temperature. The measurement of physical stimuli is achieved through integration of application-specific technology with the implant. Data from smart implants have led to refinements in implant design, surgical technique and strategies for postoperative care and rehabilitation. In spite of decades of research, with very few exceptions, smart implants have not yet become a part of daily clinical practice. This is largely because integration of current sensor technology necessitates significant modification to the implants. While the technology underlying smart implants has matured significantly over the last several decades, there are still significant technical challenges that need to be overcome before smart implants become part of mainstream health care. Sensors for next-generation smart implants will be small, simple, robust and inexpensive and will necessitate little to no modification to existing implant designs. With rapidly advancing technology, the widespread implementation of smart implants is near. New sensor technology that minimizes modifications to existing implants is the key to enabling smart implants into daily clinical practice.

Keywords: smart implant, sensor, strain gage, force, knee, hip, spine, fracture, passive resonator

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