Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Aircraft Technology Helps Diagnose Artificial Hip, Knee Problems

Date:
February 24, 2003
Source:
University Of Rhode Island
Summary:
To assess the wear and tear on jet engine parts, mechanics used an old technology called ferrography to run the aircraft's lubricating fluid through a magnetic device to separate out metal shavings and other ferrous engine debris. A University of Rhode Island researcher uses a similar process to assess the wear and tear on artificial hip and knee joints so patients can reduce the number of follow-up surgeries they must undergo or reduce the time spent in revision surgery.

KINGSTON, R.I. (February 20, 2003) -- To assess the wear and tear on jet engine parts, mechanics used an old technology called ferrography to run the aircraft's lubricating fluid through a magnetic device to separate out metal shavings and other ferrous engine debris. A University of Rhode Island researcher uses a similar process to assess the wear and tear on artificial hip and knee joints so patients can reduce the number of follow-up surgeries they must undergo or reduce the time spent in revision surgery.

Donna Meyer, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, anticipates using her research to create a "wear atlas" that can be used by orthopedic surgeons as a diagnostic tool. She said the atlas could be used to help identify the potential problems that patients are having with their implants prior to revision surgery.

Most artificial hips consist of a polyethylene socket and metal ball or metal-on-metal combinations that are connected to adjoining bones with screws or cement. Total knee replacements are made of similar materials. Over time as the ball, socket and bone rub against each other, tiny debris is produced and settles between the bone and the implant interface, discouraging the much needed growth of bone around the prosthesis. This contributes to the loosening and separation of the interface, which necessitates revision surgery to repair it.

"Polyethylene wear debris can be a significant problem for patients because a loosened joint can cause great discomfort," said Meyer, a Cranston resident. "If we can determine the number and size of wear debris contained in a patient's synovial fluid, and also look at the ratio of polyethylene to other constituents like metal, bone, and cement particles, we can create a tool to assist in diagnosing the problem with the implant before surgery is necessary. Ultimately we would like to minimize the number of revision surgeries that patients face, or at least minimize the amount of time spent in surgery for additional operations."

Meyer takes a sample of a patient's synovial fluid — " it's a large component of the lubricating fluid around your knee or hip," she said — and uses a process called bio-ferrography to capture the tiny particles of polyethylene, metal, bone and cement using a very strong magnet. Since most of the wear debris isn't magnetic and therefore wouldn't be collected by the device, she adds to the fluid sample a magnetic compound that binds to the non-magnetic particles.

"We need to capture every tiny particle in each sample to make sure the atlas is accurate," said Meyer, whose research is funded by the National Science Foundation and the Rhode Island Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network.

Meyer's interest in this research was sparked when she was a graduate student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute studying the lubrication of artificial hip joints. She talked to the chief of orthopedic surgery at the time at Albany Medical Center, who told her of his interest in bio-ferrography. She's been researching the subject ever since.

Once she perfects the technique for collecting the wear debris, she will begin creating the atlas. Meyer said the atlas will be designed so doctors can easily compare a patient's age, activity level, implant type and time since implantation with the size and composition of the wear debris to quickly determine which part of the implant is the likely cause of the problem. For example, small particles are more likely to lead to implant loosening. Large pieces of debris, on the other hand, contribute greatly to the wear volume, but it is not certain how much it contributes to implant loosening, if at all.

"The atlas can be used by doctors as a maintenance guide, in addition to a radiograph for example, and hopefully give more information about early wear detection, just like the guides used by aircraft mechanics," she said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Rhode Island. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Rhode Island. "Aircraft Technology Helps Diagnose Artificial Hip, Knee Problems." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 February 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/02/030224082143.htm>.
University Of Rhode Island. (2003, February 24). Aircraft Technology Helps Diagnose Artificial Hip, Knee Problems. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/02/030224082143.htm
University Of Rhode Island. "Aircraft Technology Helps Diagnose Artificial Hip, Knee Problems." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/02/030224082143.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama Orders Military Response to Ebola

Obama Orders Military Response to Ebola

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Calling the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a potential threat to global security, President Barack Obama is ordering 3,000 U.S. military personnel to the stricken region amid worries that the outbreak is spiraling out of control. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: 20,000 Could Be Infected With Ebola by Year End

UN: 20,000 Could Be Infected With Ebola by Year End

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Nearly $1.0 billion dollars is needed to fight the Ebola outbreak raging in west Africa, the United Nations say, warning that 20,000 could be infected by year end. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: Ebola Outbreak Threat to Global Security

Obama: Ebola Outbreak Threat to Global Security

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is ordering U.S. military personnel to West Africa to deal with the Ebola outbreak, which is he calls a potential threat to global security. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins