We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. This includes personalizing content and advertising. To learn more, click here. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies. Cookie Policy.

Features Partner Sites Information LinkXpress
Sign In
Advertise with Us
Feather Safety Razor

Download Mobile App




Events

ATTENTION: Due to the COVID-19 PANDEMIC, many events are being rescheduled for a later date, converted into virtual venues, or altogether cancelled. Please check with the event organizer or website prior to planning for any forthcoming event.

Self-Powered Smart Implants for Spinal Fusion Surgery Monitor Healing

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 27 Jun 2022
Print article
Image: 3D-printed smart metamaterial implants could monitor spinal healing (Photo courtesy of University of Pittsburgh)
Image: 3D-printed smart metamaterial implants could monitor spinal healing (Photo courtesy of University of Pittsburgh)

Spinal fusion - fusing two vertebrae together - can treat a wide variety of spinal disorders. Often, surgeons will use a cage to provide support where the disk once was between the vertebrae. But what if those cages could support the spine’s healing in more ways than one? Now, researchers are creating patient-specific 3D-printed smart metamaterial implants that double as sensors to monitor spinal healing.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA, USA) have developed a new class of multifunctional mechanical metamaterials, which act as their own sensors, recording and relaying important information about the pressure and stresses on its structure. The so-called “meta-tribomaterials” a.k.a. self-aware metamaterials, generate their own power and can be used for a wide array of sensing and monitoring applications.

The material is designed such that under pressure, contact-electrification occurs between its conductive and dielectric microlayers, creating an electric charge that relays information about the condition of the material matrix. In addition, it naturally inherits the outstanding mechanical tunability of standard metamaterials. The power generated using its built-in triboelectric nanogenerator mechanism eliminates the need for a separate power source, and a tiny chip records data about the pressure on the cage, which is an important indicator of healing. The data can then be read noninvasively using a portable ultrasound scanner.

Not only is the proposed cage unique in its sensing capabilities, but it’s also made of a highly tunable material that can be customized to the patient’s needs. The researchers have successfully tested the device in human cadavers and are looking to move on to animal models next. Because the material itself is incredibly tunable and scalable, the smart sensor design could be adapted to many other medical applications in the future, like cardiovascular stents or components for knee or hip replacements.

“Spinal fusion cages are being widely used in spinal fusion surgeries, but they’re usually made of titanium or PEEK polymer materials (a semi-crystalline, high-performance engineering thermoplastic) with certain mechanical properties,” said Amir Alavi, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. “The stiffness of our metamaterial interbody cages can be readily tuned. The implant can be 3D-printed based on the patient’s specific anatomy before surgery, making it a much more natural fit.”

“This is a first-of-its-kind implant that leverages advances in nanogenerators and metamaterial to build multifunctionality into the fabric of medical implants,” added Alavi. “This technological advancement is going to play a major part in the future of implantable devices.”

Related Links:
University of Pittsburgh 


Print article
IIR Middle East

Channels

Critical Care

view channel
Image: Three dimensional measurement of the all-mesh thermistor (Photo courtesy of Shinshu University)

Ultraflexible, Gas-Permeable Thermistors to Pave Way for On-Skin Medical Sensors and Implantable Devices

On-skin medical sensors and wearable health devices are important health care tools that must be incredibly flexible and ultrathin so they can move with the human body. In addition, the technology has... Read more

Patient Care

view channel
Image: The biomolecular film can be picked up with tweezers and placed onto a wound (Photo courtesy of TUM)

Biomolecular Wound Healing Film Adheres to Sensitive Tissue and Releases Active Ingredients

Conventional bandages may be very effective for treating smaller skin abrasions, but things get more difficult when it comes to soft-tissue injuries such as on the tongue or on sensitive surfaces like... Read more

Health IT

view channel
Image: Using digital data can improve health outcomes (Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

Electronic Health Records May Be Key to Improving Patient Care, Study Finds

When a patient gets transferred from a hospital to a nearby specialist or rehabilitation facility, it is often difficult for personnel at the new facility to access the patient’s electronic health records... Read more

Business

view channel
Image: Differentiated stapling technology for bariatric surgery (Photo courtesy of Standard Bariatrics)

Teleflex Completes Acquisition of Bariatric Stapling Technology Innovator

Teleflex Incorporated (Wayne, PA, USA), a leading global provider of medical technologies, has completed the previously announced acquisition of Standard Bariatrics, Inc. (Cincinnati, OH, USA), which has... Read more
Copyright © 2000-2022 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.