Remote acoustic sensing as a safety mechanism during exposure of metal implants to alternating magnetic fields

Bingbing Cheng, Yonatan Chatzinoff, Debby Szczepanski, Chenchen Bing, Sumbul Shaikh, Omar Wyman, Cameron E. Perry, James A. Richardson, Dennis K. Burns, Bret M. Evers, David E. Greenberg, Rajiv Chopra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Treatment of prosthetic joint infections often involves multiple surgeries and prolonged antibiotic administration, resulting in a significant burden to patients and the healthcare system. We are exploring a non-invasive method to eradicate biofilm on metal implants utilizing high-frequency alternating magnetic fields (AMF) which can achieve surface induction heating. Although proof-of-concept studies demonstrate the ability of AMF to eradicate biofilm in vitro, there is a legitimate safety concern related to the potential for thermal damage to surrounding tissues when considering heating implanted metal objects. The goal of this study was to explore the feasibility of detecting acoustic emissions associated with boiling at the interface between a metal implant and surrounding soft tissue as a wireless safety sensing mechanism. Acoustic emissions generated during in vitro and in vivo AMF exposures were captured with a hydrophone, and the relationship with surface temperature analyzed. The effect of AMF exposure power, surrounding media composition, implant location within the AMF transmitter, and implant geometry on acoustic detection during AMF therapy was also evaluated. Acoustic emissions were reliably identified in both tissue-mimicking phantom and mouse studies, and their onset coincided with the implant temperature reaching the boiling threshold. The viscosity of the surrounding medium did not impact the production of acoustic emissions; however, emissions were not present when the medium was oil due to the higher boiling point. Results of simulations and in vivo studies suggest that short-duration, high-power AMF exposures combined with acoustic sensing can be used to minimize the amount of thermal damage in surrounding tissues. These studies support the hypothesis that detection of boiling associated acoustic emissions at a metal/tissue interface could serve as a real-time, wireless safety indicator during AMF treatment of biofilm on metallic implants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0197380
JournalPloS one
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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