Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, affects millions of Americans. Implantable sensor technology and custom-designed cartilage scaffolding systems could greatly improve quality of life for these patients. Researchers at the University of Arizona and three other universities around the world are working together to develop a device that could dramatically improve the recovery process for patients with damaged joints.
Researchers are using CT scans to create patient-specific implantable scaffold systems that support joint cartilage while the tissue grows and gains strength. Using a 3D scan of a patient's joint, scientists can custom-build an implantable scaffold to support new cartilage growth while the tissue grows and gains strength. Specially developed sensing technologies can monitor and record the pressures involved in patient activities, decreasing rehabilitation time and helping patients heal more consistently both during and after rehab. The researchers ultimately hope to house the transmitters on a single small computer chip about one-third the size of a dime. These new chip-based transmitters would wirelessly transmit patient activity, and patients could also monitor their own healing via the sensor's reporting to a smartphone app.
Learn more about this work here.