Smart Orthopedic Implant to Enhance Bone Growth

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There is an urgent need for more effective treatments for patients suffering from degenerative disc disease. Specifically in spinal fusion surgeries, incidents of nonunion- when the bones of the spine fail to fuse correctly- are high risk and can severely impact patients’ quality of life.

One of the most expensive and invasive medical procedures, spinal fusion surgery is the only option for a large population of patients suffering from chronic back pain. After many decades of progress, roughly 18 percent of 1.5 million worldwide annual spinal fusion surgeries still fail, leading to devastating complications and immense healthcare waste. A failed fusion impacts the patient, payer, and hospitals through the continued poor quality of life, radiation overexposure, expensive revision surgeries with poor outcomes, and lengthy hospital stays. The nonunion rate is at least 18 percent. Despite this significant unmet clinical need, there has been shockingly little transformative innovation in the field of orthopedics, specifically, devices for spinal fusion. Intelligent Implants developed the SmartFuse implant designed to minimize the risk of non-fusions, increase bone volume, and accelerate growth driving better outcomes and quicker recoveries for spinal fusion patients.

Studies have shown conclusively that electrical stimulation techniques can lead to bone cell proliferation. Intelligent Implants has conducted pre-clinical studies, and results demonstrated that SmartFuse active simulation can increase the quantity and quality of new bone growth.

What sets Intelligent Implants apart from its competitors is that the SmartFuse technology platform combines a therapeutic benefit (i.e., accelerated bone growth and healing) with sensor technology to measure the amount of new bone growth…remotely. The smart implant incorporates a regular orthopedic implant connected to wireless antennae for controlling electrodes that graft fresh bone tissue into the body. The bone graft allows the natural bone to grow into place over time.

Combined with the SmartFuse Cloud (including a physician portal and patient app), the SmartFuse System provides unprecedented control and real-time monitoring of the patient throughout the entire duration of healing. The vision is to ultimately improve outcomes for spinal fusion patients by accelerating bone growth, reducing healing times, improving compliance, and enhancing clinical decision-making with real-time data.

Operating at the intersection of digital medicine and orthopedics, SmartFuse represents the future of medical devices that we have been talking about in the industry for many years now: smart implants that use technology to improve patient outcomes by providing a therapeutic benefit and data to support real-time clinical decision making.



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  • Name:
    Ben Hertzog
  • Type of entry:
    Team members:
    Ben Hertzog, PhD
    John Zellmer
    Martin Larsson
    Erik Zellmer
    Rory Murphy, MD
  • Patent status: