Quantitative and reliable monitoring of osseointegration will help further evaluate the integrity of the orthopaedic construct to promote novel prosthesis design and allow early mobilisation. Quantitative assessment of the degree or the lack of osseointegration is important for the clinical management with the introduction of prosthetic implants to amputees. Acousto-ultrasonic wave propagation has been used in structural health monitoring as well as human health monitoring but so far has not extended to osseointegrated implants or prostheses. This paper presents an ultrasonic guided wave approach to assess the osseointegration of a novel implant. This study explores the potential of integrating structural health monitoring concepts into a new osseointegrated implant. The aim is to demonstrate the extension of acousto-ultrasonic techniques, which have been widely reported for the structural health monitoring of engineering structures, to assess the state of osseointegration of a bone and implant. To illustrate this potential, this paper will report on the experimental findings which investigated the unification of an aluminium implant and bone-like geometry surrogate. The core of the test specimen is filled with silicone and wrapped with plasticine to simulate the highly damped cancellous bone and soft tissue, respectively. To simulate the osseointegration process, a 2-h adhesive epoxy is used to bond the surrogate implant and a bone-like structure. A series of piezoelectric elements are bonded onto the surrogate implant to serve as actuators and sensors. The actuating piezoelectric element on an extramedullary strut is excited with a 1 MHz pulse signal. The reception of the ultrasonic wave by the sensing elements located on the adjacent and furthest struts is used to assess the integration of this implant to the parent bone structure. The study shows an Osseointegration Index can be formulated by using engineering and acousto-ultrasonic methods to measure the unification of a bone and implant. This also highlights a potential quantitative evaluation technique regardless of bone-implant geometry and soft tissue damping.
- guided wave
- structural health monitoring