Congratulations to Monica Lin and colleagues for “Smart bone plates can monitor fracture healing” in Scientific Reports

Monica C. Lin, Diane Hu, Meir Marmor, Safa T. Herfat, Chelsea S. Bahney & Michel M. Maharbiz, “Smart bone plates can monitor fracture healing,” Scientific Reports, 9, Article number: 2122 (2019) 

There are currently no standardized methods for assessing fracture healing, with physicians relying on X-rays which are only useful at later stages of repair. Using in vivo mouse fracture models, we present the first evidence that microscale instrumented implants provide a route for post-operative fracture monitoring, utilizing electrical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) to track the healing tissue with high sensitivity. In this study, we fixed mouse long bone fractures with external fixators and bone plates. EIS measurements taken across two microelectrodes within the fracture gap were able to track longitudinal differences between individual mice with good versus poor healing. We additionally present an equivalent circuit model that combines the EIS data to classify fracture repair states. Lastly, we show that EIS measurements strongly correlated with standard quantitative µCT values and that these correlations validate clinically-relevant operating frequencies for implementation of this technique. These results demonstrate that EIS can be integrated into current fracture management strategies such as bone plating, providing physicians with quantitative information about the state of fracture repair to guide clinical decision-making for patients.

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