Using impedance to track fracture healing rates in mice in vivo: A pilot study

Annu Int Conf IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2017 Jul:2017:1724-1727. doi: 10.1109/EMBC.2017.8037175.


Fracture injuries are highly prevalent worldwide, with treatment of problematic fractures causing a significant burden on the U.S. healthcare system. Physicians typically monitor fracture healing by conducting physical examinations and taking radiographic images. However, nonunions currently take over 6 months to be diagnosed because these techniques are not sensitive enough to adequately assess fracture union. In this study, we display the utility of impedance spectroscopy to track different healing rates in a pilot study of an in vivo mouse tibia fracture model. We have developed small (56 μm) sensors and implanted them in an externally-stabilized fracture for twice-weekly measurement. We found that impedance magnitude increases steadily over time in healing mice but stalls in non-healing mice, and phase angle displays frequency-dependent behavior that also reflects the extent of healing at the fracture site. Our results demonstrate that impedance can track differences in healing rates early on, highlighting the potential of this technique as a method for early detection of fracture nonunion.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electric Impedance
  • Fracture Healing*
  • Fractures, Ununited
  • Mice
  • Pilot Projects
  • Tibial Fractures