Orthopedic implants are manufactured to support on healing fractured bones. In United States, over 2 million fracture fixation devices, including intra-medullary nails, external fixation pins, plates, and screws, and over 600 thousands joint prostheses, are implanted in patients annually. While fairly common, these fixation surgeries (5%) sometimes lead to unavoidable infection, which only amplifies health care costs accumulated from the initial procedures. In most cases, bacterial biofilms acutely causes infection which is a major reason of medical device failure. In order to obtain proper infections detection around biomedical implants a non-invasive chemical sensor is required. In vivo detection of low pH around implant is an indication of bacterial infection. Therefore, the sensor, which can detect low and/or high pH in the target, needs to be coupled with the implant. In addition, it should be biocompatible and stable material. To address this issue we are building a smart implant sensor out of soft, wet hydrogels which would be highly acceptable and useful.
Arifuzzaman, Md; Behrend, Caleb; DesJardins, John; and Anker, Jeffrey N., "A smart polymer hydrogel as a chemical sensor on biomedical implant" (2016). Chemistry Annual Research Symposium. Paper 11.