Patient compliance during recovery and rehab is a sticky subject. Physicians want perfect compliance to speed recovery and for successful health outcomes. Patients often skimp on self-directed home rehab exercises because it hurts to do them, they’re tired, they’re busy, and a host of other good reasons. According to estimates in a 2018 study by University College Dublin, patient adherence to home exercise in rehabilitation can be as low as 50%. Noncompliance with prescribed exercises can result in slower recovery and poor outcomes.

In the future, implants may not let us get away with skimping on home rehab exercises. On October 4, 2021, surgeons at the Hospital of Special Surgery in New York City performed a total knee replacement with the first smart knee implant. The doctors replaced a patient’s knee using Zimmer Biomet‘s Persona The Personalized Knee with Canary Medical‘s canturio implant tibial extension.

The canturio implant collects and wirelessly transmits data to a secure cloud server via a separate base station at the patient’s home. Captured data include range of motion, step count, and walking speed. The data gives physicians and patients an accurate look at the patient’s rehab adherence and recovery. The Canary Medical website states the canturio implant helps give patients confidence in their recovery. Physicians hope the technology leads to 100% compliance with prescribed rehab exercises.

Whether or not you welcome Big Brother and the Internet of Things into your knee is a point for discussion elsewhere. The core takeaway from this ground-breaking procedure is it gives healthcare professionals a greater chance for successful outcomes with procedures that rely on patients to adhere to rehabilitation instructions.