Synergistic Biosensors is a start-up orthopedic device company developing a diagnostic system that precisely measures orthopedic implant motion at the micron level without the use of expensive x-rays. The technology can be used for any type of joint replacement. Since a loose implant results in erosion of supporting bone, the sooner pathologic motion is detected, the less bone stock is lost and the greater are the chances for successful remedial intervention by the orthopedic surgeon. Other diagnostic tools on the market are imprecise for assessing the relative stability of such implants.
The Synergistic Biosensors system consists of an embedded in vivo wireless multifunctional sensor placed close to (but not in contact with) an orthopedic implant—such as a hip replacement. The system also includes a wireless interface module (WIM)—no bigger than a cellphone—that powers the sensor from outside the body. Using proximity induction technology, the sensor calculates the distance to the nearby implant and wirelessly transmits this data back to the WIM. The WIM then converts the data into a real-time distance measurement.
In the case of a total hip replacement, the implantable sensor would be approximately 10 millimeters (mm) in diameter and could be implanted within the femoral canal at 10-20mm from the prosthesis tip. Additional sensors of smaller diameter are placed around the greater trochanter and acetabulum. By connecting the WIM to a laptop and placing the WIM against the patient’s thigh, an orthopedist thus can monitor the patient’s motion proﬁle in real time without the need for x-rays.
The motion parameters of specific prosthetic components will become well-known as specialists continue to collect and share data. Synergistic Biosensors’ early detection technology offers many benefits, such as:
- preventing a patient’s prolonged discomfort,
- revealing any outliers at a much earlier stage during the post-operative recovery process,
- increasing the orthopedist’s confidence while making a prognosis, and
- reducing overall healthcare costs.
This technology has potential for a range of healthcare applications, including sports medicine, fracture healing, spine surgery, and prosthesis design as well as the fields of veterinary science and chemical environment monitoring.
Synergistic Biosensors, in collaboration with RTI International in Raleigh/Durham, and North Carolina State University Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences have established proof of concept for this technology. Present efforts are directed towards refining the wireless circuitry and fabricating a wireless multifunctional sensor and WIM, as presented in our recently published patent. Once these developments are completed, next steps will involve miniaturizing the sensor and transceiver and completing the prototype.
Synergistic Biosensors is currently seeking qualiﬁed investors to advance the research from the established proof of concept phase through the prototype stage.