An implantable telemetry device to measure intra-articular tibial forces.

Research paper by Darryl D DD D'Lima, Christopher P CP Townsend, Steven W SW Arms, Beverly A BA Morris, Clifford W CW Colwell

Indexed on: 16 Dec '04Published on: 16 Dec '04Published in: Journal of biomechanics


Tibial forces are important because they determine polyethylene wear, stress distribution in the implant, and stress transfer to underlying bone. Theoretic estimates of tibiofemoral forces have varied between three and six times the body weight depending on the mathematical models used and the type of activity analyzed. An implantable telemetry system was therefore developed to directly measure tibiofemoral compressive forces. This system was tested in a cadaver knee in a dynamic knee rig. A total knee tibial arthroplasty prosthesis was instrumented with four force transducers located at the four corners of the tibial tray. These transducers measured the total compressive forces on the tibial tray and the location of the center of pressure. A microprocessor performed analog-to-digital signal conversion and performed pulse code modulation of a surface acoustic wave radio frequency oscillator. This signal was then transmitted through a single pin hermetic feed-through tantalum wire antenna located at the tip of the stem. The radio frequency signal was received by an external antenna connected to a receiver and to a computer for data acquisition. The prosthesis was powered by external coil induction. The tibial transducer accurately measured both the magnitude and the location of precisely applied external loads. Successful transmission of the radio frequency signal up to a range of 3m was achieved through cadaveric bone, bone cement, and soft tissue. Reasonable accuracy was obtained in measuring loads applied through a polyethylene insert. The implant was also able to detect unicondylar loading with liftoff.