Bone Healing in Dentistry: Significant Advancements

Watch Dental Video about Bone Healing

New trends on bone healing measurements

The healing of bone fractures is a lengthy and complicated process, which has to be occupied and monitored. Only this way a satisfying healing of fractures can be assured. It is important to know the toughness of the healing fracture for choosing the point in time to remove osteosynthesis material or which type of physical therapy has to be applied. So far, the healing process is evaluated by clinical experience because clinical criteria are very vague.

Nowadays bone healing is monitored by diagnosis methods like X-ray techniques, computer tomography (CT) and magnet resonance tomography (MRT). All these procedures have several disadvantages like the harmful X-ray or varying interpretation of the photos, wherefore a new basic approach for the monitoring of bone healing shall be investigated.

An implantable, autarchic working measurement system shall acquire the advancement of the healing by measuring parameters of fluids in living organism. The gathered information shall be available to the medicating physician via telemedical technologies. The physician can evaluate the data and will be able to configure the therapy for the patients accordingly. At the beginning of the study, the dissolved oxygen saturation is assumed to be an indicator for the progress of bone healing.

The challenges in this study were manifold. The battery-powered implant had to perform regular measurements and data transmissions for one month. To achieve a long battery lifetime, an intelligent power management had to be included in the system. Additionally the implant must have a biocompatible surface because it was tested in-vivo at the cranial calvarium of sheep and neither the animal nor the device was allowed to be attacked by harmful fluids or materials. Finally the data transmission from the implant through the animal tissue and skin to the extern receiver and the following transmission to the web server had to be built up reliably.

Bone Healing Measurements

Bone Healing Measurements

The purpose of this study was to develop and test the whole implant and the data transmission system and not primarily the measurement of the oxygen saturation. The current measured by the implant should lie in the range from 0 nA to 18 nA. A slow drift of the current at constant oxygen values in the environment of the sensor is possible. Due to the fact that the sensor can’t be recalibrated after the implantation, a signal drift is not distinguishable from the actual changes of the measured parameters at the present measurement period. Without the possibility of an in-situ calibration of the sensor, an interpretation of the data is not possible at the physiological level.

The sensors in the sheep were functional from 16 to 72 hours. Negative values report a malfunction of the implant circuit or the sensor. The investigation of the implants after the devotement of the subjects showed that fluids intruded into some of the implants. The electronics of the implant and the power management are working correctly if the coating is leak-proof. By reason of the missing possibility to calibrate the utilized oxygen sensor, the measured values could not be consulted for propositions to bone healing.

Further experiments with an improved sensor system and an impervious coating are intended.

Click here to see the video: Bone Reconstruction


This post is also available in: German

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