CONN HASTINGS, MedGadget / August 9th, 2017
Scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center have developed a new technique using high-frequency alternating magnetic fields to heat artificial joints in the body and destroy bacterial films on their surfaces.
Bacterial infections on artificial joints used in knee and hip replacements are a common and serious complication. The bacteria tend to form slimy films on the metal surfaces of the joints called biofilms, and they are difficult to treat using antibiotics.
Dr. David Greenberg, of UT Southwestern Medical Center, describes the solution the researchers developed. “We were looking for better ways to target and treat biofilms,” he says. “Our idea was to put a coil around the joint and run a current through it to create alternating magnetic fields. Human tissue isn’t conductive but metal is, so only the implant would heat up.” The principle is the same as that in induction cooktops, which use magnetic fields to heat metal pots for cooking.