Recent Advances in Smart Implants and BioMaterials

Ankle osteoarthritis is a condition that causes pain and stiffness in the ankle joint. Traditional treatments like joint fusion can limit mobility. An alternative procedure called ankle distraction arthroplasty has been gaining some traction, but how well does it hold up in the long term? 

A recent study by Greenfield et al. (2019) investigated this very question. They conducted a survival analysis of ankle distraction arthroplasty for ankle osteoarthritis. Their findings suggest that this procedure may be a viable option for some patients. 

Key takeaways from the study: 

  • Ankle distraction arthroplasty showed promising results, with an 84% survival rate at 5 years. This is better than some previously reported outcomes. 
  • The study also identified factors that can influence the success of the procedure. Avascular necrosis of the talus (bone death) was associated with a lower survival rate. Additionally, sex may play a role, with the study suggesting potential gender differences in long-term outcomes. 

What this means for patients: 

Ankle distraction arthroplasty offers a potential option for preserving joint mobility in patients with ankle osteoarthritis. This study provides valuable data for surgeons and patients to consider when making treatment decisions. 

Important to note: 

  • This was a retrospective study, meaning researchers analyzed past data. More robust research designs are needed to confirm these findings. 
  • The study involved a relatively small group of patients. Larger studies are necessary to draw more definitive conclusions. 

Overall, this research suggests that ankle distraction arthroplasty may be a valuable tool for treating ankle osteoarthritis. However, more research is needed to solidify its place as a standard treatment option. 

ReferenceGreenfield, S., Matta, K. M., McCoy, T. H., Rozbruch, S. R., & Fragomen, A. (2019). Ankle distraction arthroplasty for ankle osteoarthritis: a survival analysis. Strategies in trauma and limb reconstruction, 14(2), 65.,and%2037%25%20within%205%20years


This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional to discuss your individual treatment options.

Recent Advances in Smart Implants and BioMaterials
Image Credits: Medgadget 

Article Authors: Gordon Slater| Tandose Sambo 

“Values are related to our emotions, just as we practice physical hygiene to preserve our physical health, we need to observe emotional hygiene to preserve a healthy mind and attitudes.”— Dalai Lama


The orthopaedic world continuously evolves with time. As healing mechanisms are elucidated, a few innovations are integrated with those discoveries that shape the way your orthopaedic surgeon will provide you with the appropriate treatments for your condition. The internet of things, an evolution of the globe’s smart interconnected devices, is enabling the medical realm to manufacture implants that are able to generate critical data that can influence patient treatment. 

Smart implants are implantable devices that are designed to be integrated into an implant. Under the right conditions they remain dormant, gather data and monitor patient health. If any critical health parameter changes within the patient, they will then detect the change and alert the relevant medical team of what will be needed in order for the appropriate treatments to be facilitated. These implant capabilities can help improve the implant design in the future and also help with the post operative care. Health officials do anticipate that these systems will enable more longevity of the implant, and facilitate a health care system that will save money for the patients. 

While applications of the smart implants have found their way to areas such as the knee, for knee arthroplasty the possibilities still remain endless. The parameters that these devices will measure include: pressure, force, strain, displacement, proximity and temperature. With time, it is anticipated that the smart implant will become part of daily clinical practice. 


Bone defects are orthopaedic challenges that the medical industry aims to address. 

They are treated traditionally, via methods such as the utilisation of autologous and allogeneic grafts. These treatments do have their associated complications, and alternative methods of treatments are being utilised in order to overcome these challenges. 

Implantable biomaterials offer solutions to the treatment of bone defects. They are able to treat conditions such as residual tumours, severe infections or other bone diseases that impact bone regeneration. The utilisation of biomaterials with integrated bone therapy is proving effective in regeneration of bone. 

Via the integration of external stimulation such as light irradiation, electric and magnetic fields, ultrasound, and mechanical stimuli, the bone healing process was enhanced. Internal changes in the patient’s body chemistry were also incorporated to catalyse the healing process. These adjustments included adjusting the site’s specific pH. 

Smart implants and biomaterials are the future that we are looking for in orthopaedics. With access to data, information can be generated, and with the information better health decisions can be made. 


  1. Smart Implants:
  2. Dovepress:
  3. Nature :

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Dr. Gordon Slater

Dr. Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions.

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Dr Gordon Slater is a highly-skilled surgeon specialising in foot and ankle conditions and sports injuries. Dr Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions. MIS  has many advantages including shorter operating times, reduced post-operative pain, reduced risk of infection, minimal scarring and better cosmetic outcomes.

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