Orthopedics This Week, the most widely read publication in the orthopedics industry, recently announced its list of best sports medicine technologies for 2018.

This is a fascinating and exciting list of new and upcoming technologies that will be sure to assist sports medicine and orthopedic doctors around the world. Here’s our summary:

Carestream Onsight 3D Extremity System from Carestream Health

This sounds like an exceptional new form of orthopedic imaging equipment. The Onsight 3D:

  • Uses Cone Beam CT Technology and a lower dose of radiation than current scanners.
  • Delivers high quality images of the entire body
  • Can be used for weight bearing images
  • Is FDA-approved
  • Is more affordable than traditional CT systems
  • Is compact enough to fit into a doctor’s office and potentially reduce the need for further hospital imaging appointments
  • Requires only 25 seconds to take an entire 3-D scan of a patient
  • The patient’s head and body are not confined — therefore reducing claustrophobia often associated with MRI and CT scanners,

ClearEdge Brain Health Tool Kit by Quadrant Biosciences Inc.

This is an exciting new system designed to monitor brain health after a concussion, which as we know is common in many sports. This tool kit:

  • Monitors brain health through functional assessment
  • These assessments track subtle changes in symptoms, balance and cognitive function.
  • Its main purpose is for long-term monitoring and is currently being trialed with retired NFL athletes.
  • Through frequent repeat testing, this tool kit can help determine the effectiveness of different therapies.
  • All functional assessment tools are FDA approved.

Cobra Suture Passer by Stryker Corp.

Cobra is the first reusable suture passer to use a stainless-steel needle for arthroscopic rotator cuff repair. Existing suture passers use reusable retinol needles which are more flexible. This product:

  • Has a lower risk of intraoperative misfires or distal tip needle breaks
  • Is able to pass through even calcified rotator cuffs
  • It is the Cobra’s durability and reliability which gained it recognition from the judges.

Frog-Skin by PolyPhysics inc.

Frog-Skin wraps provide cold therapy and compression to musculoskeletal injuries. Nothing new there, you might think, but you’d be mistaken:

  • Frog-Skin is made from an engineered elastic composite material, which regulates the skin temperature during cold therapy.
  • There are two variations — 43, which regulates skin temperature to 43 F and 64 which cools to 64 F (for cold sensitive patients).
  • Materials are latex free and non-toxic
  • Lightweight and portable for treatment in the field
  • Safer than ice by eliminating the risk of burns but still being cool enough to induce therapeutic effects
  • Precision temperature control allows longer application times

Access Strength Platform by Include Health Inc.

This is a piece of equipment which allows a patient to perform rehabilitation exercises and to have the statistics of their workout measured and recorded.

The first platform to be available is the Access Strength. There are hundreds of different upper and lower body exercises which can be performed standing, seated or from a wheelchair.

  • The platform pairs with HIPAA-compliant cloud software.
  • It offers extensive protocol libraries, scheduling, live guidance, and autonomous tracking and analytics of all activities performed.
  • The health professional can browse through a database of exercises and select those required for their patient.
  • Each individual’s protocol can be saved to the cloud and downloaded at any point, when the patient is ready to commence exercise.
  • Whilst the patient is on the equipment, data is collected on range of motion, symmetry, power, tempo and force, which are then uploaded to the cloud and is available for analysis by the healthcare professional.

Intelligent Medical Device Platform for Pain Management by iTrace Biomedical inc

This is a portable treatment device that can provide a number of therapies as well as using data to determine the best treatment protocol for each patient and record their pain levels and compliance.

  • Therapies available include heat, cold, ultrasound and TENS, all from one machine.
  • The platform is connected to a cloud which allows information input by the patient (pain level for example). This can enable the therapist to determine treatment effectiveness.
  • Therapists have access to an international patient database to compare previous outcomes and determine the best treatment options for each patient, based on their injury, BMI, gender, age, etc.
  • The device is self-learning, using objective data to personalize a treatment program for each individual.

Kator Suture Anchor by Kator LLC

This is a knotless arthroscopic transosseous repair system for use in rotator cuff and Achilles tendon rupture repairs.

  • The manufacturers promise 50 percent fewer anchors, with the equivalent biomechanics.
  • FDA approved
  • Requires only two anchors, rather than the usual four. This reduces both cost, as well as anchor load on the tuberosity.
  • A study comparing the Kator suture anchor’s knotless repair system to transosseous equivalent (ToE) repair found that the knotless repair failed only through soft tissue, whereas the ToE repair failed through soft tissue and repair construct.
  • In addition, cyclic gapping, stiffness and failure loads were not significantly different between the two methods, despite the 50 percent reduction in anchors.

Minimally Invasive Quad Tendon Harvest Set and FiberLoop with FiberTag Fixation by Arthrex Inc.

Autografts are known to be the best option for ACL reconstruction, however they are not always possible — especially in pediatric patients whose hamstring tendons may be too small.

The alternative patella tendon graft is also known to sometimes disrupt the growth plates. This quad tendon harvest set with fiberloop and fibertag fixation promises to change all that.

  • In short, it provides a faster reconstruction time, reduced morbidity and a variety of graft options and is less invasive than hamstring and patella tendon autografts.
  • FDA class 2 approval
  • The FiberLoop with FiberTag SpeedWhip™ rip-stop technique strengthens the suture/tissue junction with a FiberTag scaffold. A FiberTag suture is incorporated into the end of the FiberLoop construct meaning each needle pass integrates both graft and FiberTag scaffold.

Missouri Osteochondral Preservative System (MOPS) by MTF Biologics in conjunction with Missouri Orthopedic Institute & ConMed

MOPS, for use in osteochondral implants, promises longer chondrocyte viability. It is an allograft engineered to better preserve donated cartilage, bone, ligament and spinal disc during the disease testing period and the storage period before transplantation — typically 70 days.

  • Also offers the benefits of closed containers, the ability to be stored at room temperature and serum free media.
  • Chondrocyte viability often falls below essential levels within 28 days of procurement, but this system stretches that timeframe to at least 56 days.
  • Due to the limited supply of fresh osteochondral allografts, this system will mean that more allografts are available when required.

Pivot Guardian Distractor System by Stryker Corp.

This is the first post-free hip distraction system. Designed for use in hip arthroscopies, this system removes the need for a perineal post which is associated with symptoms of nerve dysfunction and groin problems.

  • 46 percent of hip arthroscopy patients report nerve dysfunction symptoms and 32 percent of patients report groin symptoms, although most are temporary.
  • Allows better visibility for surgeons, which in turn improves outcomes
  • Recent investigations found that in over 1,000 hip arthroscopy procedures using this system, it produced safe, adequate and reproducible access to the hip without complications.

For more information on any of these technologies, visit https://ryortho.com/2018/07/the-ten-best-sports-medicine-technologies-for-2018/.