Canadian Centre for Activity and Agine

Building a better hip implant

A team of Western University undergraduate engineering students recently developed a "smart" implant for hip replacements. Their invention earned them top prize in the Western Engineering Competition and a third place finish in a provincial conference.

Almost 500,000 hip replacement surgeries were done in North America in 2013, but 35,000 of these procedures were surgeries to fix loose implants due to bone weakening. Hip implants loosen, but that loosening is not detected by X-ray-based imaging until the damage is quite progressed. The imaging method is expensive — and only available at four locations in Canada. The students’ prototype can detect micro-loosening as early as two years after the implant is put in. That’s at least a year earlier than the most expensive high-tech methods available today. Read the London Free Press article.