Vanderbilt University researchers have developed a new technique for identifying implant loosening. The technique utilizes the analysis of synovial fluid as an early indicator of potential loosening of orthopedic implants.
• The current methods for identifying loosening of orthopedic implants involve either X-Ray imaging or bone scans. Both of those techniques are plagued by limited accuracy and often involve the need for multiple scans.
• Implant loosening can be accompanied by extreme patient discomfort and often, infection. This often leads to complications that require significant and expensive intervention such as ancillary treatment and potentially revision surgery.
• 4% of patients require revision surgery of knee or hip replacements after 10 years. After a period of 20 years, 15% of patients require hip revision surgery and 10% require knee revision surgery.
Aspirated synovial fluid is analyzed for levels of trace elements. These levels are then correlated with implant fixation.
• Utilization of already available aspirated synovial fluid.
• The trace elements and bone cement can eventually be analyzed through even faster methods and this technology can be reduced to an on-site analyzation, such as a kit.
The proof of concept experiments have been completed. Prospective trials are in the planning stages.