Wireless Smart Device Allows Physicians to Personalize Treatment
22 Feb, 2012 - 08:45am
Imagine having a wireless device that can be customized so as to provide relevant and real-time information regarding a patient’s recuperation after surgery without having to resort to x-rays, tests, and other potentially invasive procedures. Sounds like something from a science fiction movie?
Not really, because a team of researchers from the New York’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, led by Assistant Professor Eric H. Ledet, PhD in cooperation with Albany Medical College’s Orthopedic Surgery Division Head Richard Uhl, MD, has actually come up with an inexpensive, reliable, and accurate implantable device designed to make post-operative monitoring easier and less invasive.
The miniscule sensor, at 500 microns thick and 4mm in diameter, is wireless, does not require a battery, and instead uses the external device that captures the sensor’s data for its power source. They resemble small coils of copper wire, and are fastened to frequently-used orthopedic implants and prosthetic devices. Once attached to its in vivo environment, the sensor then monitors and transmits relevant data about any pressure, strain, or change in temperature of the surgery site. According to Dr. Ledet’s associate, Rebecca A. Wachs, MS, the device is also adjustable and scalable, allowing for custom configuration allowing it to be attached to multiple kinds of implantable orthopedic apparatuses.
This, Dr. Ledet says, will allow for more accurate and precise evaluations with regard to a patient’s recovery, allowing them to resume work and other normal activities without risking further damage or injury.
Dr. Ledet has been working on this technology for approximately five years, and has had a series of breakthroughs within the past year and a half. While he and his team are currently producing each sensor manually, Dr. Ledet is confident that mass production will be possible soon, following patent approval for the device.