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Surgeon Designs System to Monitor Orthopedic Implants and Promote Healing
The system uses RFID, sensors and electric stimulators to assess the functioning of an implanted orthopedic device and the surrounding tissue, as well as to hasten surgical recovery.
Mar 18, 2008—A New Jersey orthopedic surgeon says he has developed an RFID-enabled device that can measure and transmit data regarding the condition of the tissue around an implant, as well as whether the implant is functioning properly.
The device, designed by Lee Berger, a senior partner at Orthopaedic Associates in Fair Lawn, is based on patent 7333013, granted to Berger in February by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, for orthopedic implants using RFID technology to help patients and physicians track healing around an implant.
Berger envisions employing sensors to measure pressure on the implant, as well as chemical balance, temperature and the presence of microorganisms around the device after it has been surgically attached to a patient. Sensors would measure pressure to determine if the implant has shifted, and would gauge the other factors to track the presence of an infection. The sensors would be wired to an RFID chip, which would transmit the sensor data to an RFID interrogator used by a physician.
What's more, Berger says, the implant features an electric stimulator wired to the RFID chip. In response to instructions from the reader, the stimulator can generate 20 to 40 microamps of electricity. The electric current passes through the bone in which the implant is attached, to promote healing.
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