Researchers at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) have developed a smart device called ‘Smarthroscope’ to assess the damage done to tissues and cartilages in case of osteoarthritis, sports injuries and other conditions associated to tissue injuries.
The device will help in cutting the costs of surgeries and the need of unnecessary surgeries caused due to inefficient methods of determining tissue damage. This device will especially help the developing countries as it gives an economical and efficient option to surgeons for identifying the tissue injuries. “What we are trying to do is give an accurate picture of what is going on inside the actual tissues,” said Professor Oloyede, from QUT.
“We want to accurately assess the area of influence of a focal joint defect in a particular condition to determine the optimal amount of tissue to be removed for replacement surgery, and the area to be prepared for other forms of therapy such as those depending on cell-based procedures. If we were able to give an exact map of the cartilage and bone in a degenerating joint, they would then know how bad the condition is, and would be able to treat the right area in the right way,” he added.
Normally, surgeons use ‘arthroscopes’ that depict the tissue damage pictorially which is sometimes inaccurate. The pictorial information is assessed by the surgeons and further treatment is identified. However, with Smarthroscope surgeons will be assisted with an accurate ‘decision maker’ which will assess the focal cartilage damage and the part of the cartilage damaged and how much really needs to be operated upon unlike traditional method where unnecessary surgeries had to be performed.
“Out there, they do not have as many surgeons who can carry out arthroscopy and make decisions about joint tissue treatment as we do, but this instrument would reduce the dependence on surgical experience and guide them in the process of managing conditions such as osteoarthritis, avascular necrosis and osteochondritis dessicans,” said Oloyede.
The mock-up of Smarthroscope which is patented by QUT will be made available by 2009 and its optimized prototype in 3 years.