HomeMedicalMedical DevicesRealizing a More Personal Healthcare

Realizing a More Personal Healthcare

One of the best things about human beings is how we are able to become better on such a consistent basis. This dynamic, in particular, enables us big time in terms of hitting upon some huge milestones along the way. Now, while each milestone here promises to touch upon our lives under a unique capacity, none have done the job quite like technology. Technology seems like an anomaly for reasons that revolve around a bigger centrepiece than just its ingenious skill-set. To give you an example, a lot of technology’s success has actually emerged from the manner in which it used those unprecedented skills to impact our entire spectrum. The stated feature, in turn, expectantly produced many beneficiaries in its wake, and one among them was our very own healthcare sector. In fact, technology’s linkup with healthcare couldn’t have arrived at a better time, considering the sector was really struggling to sustain itself against an outright obsolete structure. Fortunately, by instilling new and smarter ideas, the creation would succeed in shaking up that picture. Nevertheless, even after doing so, it will somehow continue to scale up, and a recent development should only further this pattern.

The engineering team at University of Pittsburgh has successfully developed a self-powered spinal cage implant, which is pretty designed to track spinal healing. According to certain reports, the device can be 3D printed, therefore allowing it to cater different size requirements of each patient. Apart from the size, you can also tinker with its mechanical properties so to make it a suitable prospect in various medical situations. Talk about the implant’s core function, it basically uses a triboelectric nanogenerator for generating electricity, and as this electricity is only produced when pressurized by the spine, the whole thing becomes a reliable barometer to judge spinal healing. As for how a medical professional can study the results using the said implant, all they are going to need is an ultrasound device.

Interestingly, even though the concept of spinal cage has been around for a long time now, the usual off-the-shelf solutions have never bothered to cater individual needs. Hence, once you consider that element, you gain a whole new perspective on the significance of this development.

“Spinal fusion cages are being widely used in spinal fusion surgeries, but they’re usually made of titanium or PEEK polymer materials (a semi-crystalline, high-performance engineering thermoplastic) with certain mechanical properties,” said Amir Alavi, one of the developers of the new device. “The stiffness of our metamaterial interbody cages can be readily tuned. The implant can be 3D-printed based on the patient’s specific anatomy before surgery, making it a much more natural fit.”

So, when can we expect the new spinal cage to enter the mainstream context? Well, thus far, the engineering team has tested the technology in human cadavers, and while there is an intention to test it in animals soon, the overall timeline remains unknown.


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