Scientists have developed a prototype device and software that allows monitoring the success of spinal fusion. The sensor is attached to a rod that is used during surgery, and the software allows you to decipher the received signals.
Scientists from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand have developed a prototype product and software to reduce the risk of spinal fusion. The message was published on the Healthcare-in-Europe.com portal.
The authors noted that spinal fusion is a highly invasive procedure that has a high failure rate after just five years. Moreover, at the end of the intervention, surgeons cannot be sure of success – this is confirmed only by X-rays four months later.
The developed product is attached to a rod installed during spinal fusion, like a strain gauge. It is wirelessly connected to software to interpret the signals received from the device.
If initial implantation is successful, the sensor should display maximum voltage. When the software shows no tension, the surgeon sees the problem and can correct it before the end of the operation. This monitoring is especially important in cases where there are tiny cracks within the implant that are invisible to the human eye or a slightly loose screw that may prevent the bone from fusing to the implant.
The recovery process after spinal fusion takes several weeks with forced bed rest. Many able-bodied and active patients often find it difficult to adhere to this treatment plan. The new product will help track improvement metrics. The patient will be able to independently scan the area and send the data to the treating surgeon.
Due to the absence of a battery and the risk of leakage, the product can not only remain in the human body forever, but will also allow in the event of future injuries to check for violations of the synthesis process. The inventor believes that the technology can be used in other parts of the body to monitor degradation, for example, in hip and knee replacements. Commercial release of the product is planned for early 2024.