Smart Surgical Implant Coating Provides Early Failure Warning While Preventing Infection – ScienceDaily

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that a newly developed ‘smart’ coating for surgical orthopedic implants could monitor device strain to provide early warning of implant failure and prevent infection. reported to be able to kill some bacteria. The coating integrates a flexible sensor with a nanostructured antimicrobial surface inspired by the wings of dragonflies and cicadas.

In a new study in the journal scientific progressa multidisciplinary team of researchers found that coatings prevented infection in live mice and mapped the strain of commercial implants applied to sheep spines to warn of various implants or healing failures. bottom.

“It combines bio-inspired nanomaterials design with flexible electronics to address complex, long-term biomedical problems,” said Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and research leader. said Qing Cao,

Both infections and device failure are major problems with orthopedic implants, each affecting up to 10% of patients, Cao said. Several approaches have been tried to combat the infection, he said, but all have serious limitations. Biofilms can still form on water-repellent surfaces, and antibiotic chemical or drug-laden coatings can be depleted in months and have a toxic effect on the surrounding environment. A tissue that has little effect on resistant strains.

Inspired by the native antibacterial wings of cicadas and dragonflies, the Illinois team created a thin foil patterned with nanoscale columns similar to those found on insect wings. When a bacterial cell tries to bind to the foil, the pillars pierce the cell wall and kill it.

“Using a mechanical approach to kill the bacteria allowed us to avoid many of the problems associated with chemical approaches, but also gave us the necessary flexibility to apply coatings to the implant surface. ‘, said Gee Lau, a professor of pathobiology and a co-author of the study.

On the backside of the nanostructured foil, where it contacts the implanted device, the researchers integrated an array of highly sensitive and flexible electronic sensors to monitor strain. This helps physicians monitor individual patient healing progress, guide rehabilitation to reduce recovery time and minimize risk, and repair or replace devices before they reach a point of failure. Researchers say it’s possible.

The engineering group then worked with Annette McCoy, professor of veterinary clinical medicine, to test a prototype device. They implanted foil in live mice and monitored them for signs of infection, even when bacteria were introduced. They also applied coatings to commercial spinal implants and monitored strain on sheep spinal implants under normal loading for device failure diagnosis. The coating performed both functions well.

The prototype electronics required wires, but the researchers next plan to develop a wireless power and data communication interface for the coating. This is an important step towards clinical application. They are also working to develop large-scale production of germicidal foils with nanopillar textures.

“There are many potential applications for these types of antimicrobial coatings. It could be used where ions are harmful,” Cao said. Said.

The National Science Foundation and the US Congress-led Medical Research Program supported this work.

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