Guwahati: Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IIT-G) researchers have developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI) model to predict the healing of thigh bone fractures after surgery.
Developed by Dr. Souptick Chanda, assistant professor, Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering and his team, the model can be used to assess healing outcomes of different fracture fixation strategies so that an optimum strategy can be chosen for the patient depending on their personal physiologies and fracture type.
Using such precision models can reduce healing time, and lighten the economic burden and pain for patients who need thigh fracture treatment.
The results of this research have recently been published in the open-source journal, PLoS One in a paper co-authored by Chanda and his research scholar Pratik Nag.
Speaking about the research, Chanda said, “AI has tremendous potential when it comes to understanding and predicting complex biological phenomena and hence, can play a big role in health sciences applications.”
The research team used a combination of finite element analysis and the AI tool, fuzzy logic, to understand the healing process of fractures after different treatment methods.
Various bone-growth parameters were used along with a rule-based simulation scheme. The study also examined the influence of different screw-fixation mechanisms to compare the healing efficacies of each process. The predictions of healing made by the model agreed well with experimental observations, pointing to its reliability.
IIT-G’s AI-based simulation model can potentially help a surgeon choose the right implant or technique before a treatment surgery. In addition to various biological and patient-specific parameters, the model can also account for different clinical phenomena, such as smoking and diabetes. The model can also be adapted for veterinary fractures, which are physiologically and in various aspects similar to those occurring in human patients.
The researchers plan to develop a software/app based on the algorithm that can be used in hospitals and other healthcare institutions as part of their fracture treatment protocols.
The team is presently collaborating with Dr. Bhaskar Borgohain and his team of orthopaedists from the North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences Hospital, Shillong, for animal studies to validate and fine-tune certain parameters.
The research is useful because the incidences of thigh bone and hip fractures have increased significantly due to the increasing geriatric population in the world.
An estimated 2 lakh hip fractures occur every year in India alone, most of which require hospitalisation and trauma care. Treatment for hip fractures traditionally includes bone plates and rods to bridge the fracture site and promote healing.
Fracture treatment methods are intuitively chosen by surgeons based on their experience.
The research by IIT-G will help increase the accuracy rate in decision-making in orthopaedics, thereby reducing the cost and disease burden associated with fracture recovery.
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