Science 2 min read

Researchers Create new Bone Fracture Treatment Using Smart Bone Plates

This new smart bone plate design could significantly improve the treatment of fractures. ¦ Puwadol Jaturawutthichai /

This new smart bone plate design could significantly improve the treatment of fractures. ¦ Puwadol Jaturawutthichai /

Musculoskeletal injuries such as bone fractures are quite prevalent in the United States. In fact, studies reveal that age-related fractures could increase nationally from 2.1 million in 2005 to over 3 million fractures in 2025.

Since the current healthcare system has no standard methods of assessing fractures, its treatment has always being a bit challenging. Here is why.

A form of evaluation is required to make accurate clinical decisions about fracture healing. Considering the absence of a standard assessment method, physicians rely on the most common methods – radiographic imaging and physical evaluation.

While radiographic imaging seems like a smart way to improve diagnostics, its clinical use is limited. Not only is it expensive, but the method also exposes patients to a high dose of radiation.

As a result, physicians often depend on physical examination to determine the healing process of a fracture. Needless to say that the results are imprecise and subjective. But all that is about to change.

Thanks to advancements in the field of Bone Tissue Engineering, physicians will soon be able to determine the process of bone fracture repair conclusively.

No, it does not involve relying on X-ray or any other radiographic imaging process. Instead, it begins with a smart bone plate transplant.

The Smart Bone Plate Transplant

In a recent study, Monica Lin and her colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco explored how a smart bone plate can provide an insight into a fracture’s healing process. So, the team of researchers treated long bone fractures in mice with external fixtures and bone plates containing sensors.

Equipped with electric impedance spectroscopy (EIS), the implant was able to monitor the post-operative fracture healing.

Not only did the EIS measurement provide a better understanding of the fracture healing process in mice, but it also enabled the researchers to classify the state of fracture repair. Furthermore, the result correlates strongly with standard qualitative X-Ray microtomography (MicroCT).

So, what are the chances that smart bone plate will be adopted among physicians?

The global orthopedic device market is expected to reach a value of $41.2 billion before the end of the year. Since the study proves the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of EIS, it has a good chance of being adopted soon.

Read More: How AI is Personalizing Healthcare

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Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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