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Lee Lucas Award winner: ArtioSense

ArtioSense receives the Lee Lucas Award for the development of novel, microfluidics-based force sensing technology as an intraoperative surgical aid to facilitate precision orthopaedic surgery.

ArtioSense is developing a novel intraoperative surgical aid to facilitate precise implant positioning during joint replacement surgery. Its initial focus is on hip replacement operations, but the technology may be applied to a range of joints.

An image of a sensor loaded trial line, to be used during surgery to determine optimal force distribution and implant position.

The core technology was developed in the laboratory of co-founder Sohini Kar-Narayan, Professor of Materials Science at the University of Cambridge, in collaboration with consultant orthopaedic surgeon and co-founder Vikas Khanduja. The innovation involves thin and conformable microfluidic force sensors that can provide real-time force measurements within the joint as the surgeon operates.

There are currently no technologies in clinical use that can measure the forces passing through the hip while the surgeon positions the implant. For weight-bearing joints such as the hip, inappropriate positioning can lead to an imbalance in the forces passing through the joint once the patient resumes normal activities, which in turn accelerates implant wear and fracture, necessitating complex and expensive revision surgery.

The ArtioSense team is integrating an array of force sensors within the liner used during the trial stage of the surgery, which will allow the surgeon to find the optimal, force-balanced position for the different implant components. Once aligned, the trial liner will be removed and the final liner (sans sensors) fitted as part of the implant. This novel surgical aid should result in improved surgical success rates and reduced surgical revisions, benefiting both patients and healthcare systems across the globe.