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Sensor Based Detection of Implant Loosening in Total Hip Replacements

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Smart hips, not smarting hips

Osteoarthritis, a leading cause of disability in the developed world, ultimately necessitates use of joint replacements. These implants have limited life, and issues with implant fixation and loosening limit their utility.


Currently, diagnostic techniques such as radiography and clinical symptoms are used to determine implant loosening or osteolysis, a condition where bone resorption occurs. These methods are not sensitive enough, with patients needlessly undergoing revision surgery due to false positive results or, even more serious, late detection of bone defects. EU funding is supporting researchers in their quest to develop a smart hip replacement system under the aegis of the project SMART-HIP (Sensor based detection of implant loosening in total hip replacements). This system will rapidly and reliably detect issues with implant fixation and loosening, thus preventing unnecessary revision surgery of joint replacements. During the first project period itself, the SMART-HIP system is in an advanced stage of design, and researchers have also addressed software needs. The final SMART-HIP system will have an 'intelligent prosthesis' composed of an excitation and oscillator unit to detect implant status. The system's external diagnostic unit will be used to excite the intelligent prosthesis and receive the signal to enable computer analysis. Successful realisation of the innovative SMART-HIP system will enable accurate and reliable diagnosis of implant loosening. Besides the obvious benefits to osteoarthritic patients, commercialisation will enhance the competitiveness of partnering small businesses while reducing disability-related socioeconomic costs.


Osteoarthritis, joint replacements, implant loosening, revision surgery, hip replacement

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