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New Device Allows Radiation-Free Progress Assessment Of Back Surgery Patients

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One of the problems associated with extensive back surgery is that patients need to undergo repeated X-ray procedures to determine progress. More X-rays mean more exposure to radiation and that raises additional concerns. Now, two US engineering undergraduates have created a device that will allow doctors to monitor patients´ progress after back surgery without resorting to X-rays.

The new device has been dubbed “electrogoniometer” and is the creation of Kerri Killen and Samantha Music, Medical News Today reported. The duo developed it during their undergraduate studies at the New Jersey-based Stevens Institute of Technology. The electrogoniometer uses sensors powered by batteries to deliver a three-dimensional evaluation of spinal motion. In addition to reducing radiation exposure for patients, the device could also generate substantial savings for healthcare providers, according to the developers.

Surgeons can use the electrogoniometer before and after surgery but the vest-like attachment can also help physical therapists make further assessments of patient progress. Patients find the device comfortable and medical professionals benefit from immediate and accurate results. Moreover, the electrogoniometer is user-friendly and healthcare professionals need very little training before they can start employing it.

Killen and Music also believe that their technology could help determine when a person can return to work after an absence due to injury. This is because the device could be used to measure movement spinal angles. But the benefits could extend beyond patients requiring surgery as a result of back pain. The device can be adapted for attachment to other areas of the body, providing evaluation of movement in the hip, shoulder, knee or wrist.