An ultrasound wearable system for the monitoring and acceleration of fracture healing in long bones
AuthorProtopappas, V. C.; Baga, D. A.; Fotiadis, D. I.; Likas, A. C.; Papachristos, A. A.; Malizos, K. N.
An ultrasound wearable system for remote monitoring and acceleration of the healing process in fractured long bones is presented. The so-called USBone system consists of a pair of ultrasound transducers, implanted into the fracture region, wearable device and a centralized unit. The wearable device is responsible to carry out ultrasound measurements using the axial-transmission technique and initiate therapy sessions of low-intensity pulsed ultrasound. The acquired measurements and other data are wirelessly transferred from the patient-site to the centralized unit, which is located in a clinical setting. The evaluation of the system on an animal tibial osteotomy model is also presented. A dataset was constructed for monitoring purposes consisting of serial ultrasound measurements, follow-up radiographs, quantitative computed tomography-based densitometry and biomechanical data. The animal study demonstrated the, ability of the system to collect ultrasound measurements in an effective and reliable fashion and participating orthopaedic surgeons accepted the system for future clinical application. Analysis of the acquired measurements showed that the pattern of evolution of the ultrasound velocity through healing bones over the postoperative period monitors a dynamic healing process. Furthermore, the ultrasound velocity of radiographically healed bones returns to 80% of the intact bone value, whereas the correlation coefficient of the velocity with the material and mechanical properties of the healing bone ranges from 0.699 to 0.814. The USBone system constitutes the first telemedicine system for the out-hospital management of patients sustained open fractures and treated with external fixation devices.