Two East Coast spinal surgeons, Drs. Mitchell Reiter and Mark Drzala, developed an at-home early warning device that would help individuals identify allergies to metals to help avoid potential adverse reactions caused by medical implants, piercings and jewelry. The Bernardsville-based doctors developed and designed Sensiband, a sporty hypoallergenic wrist band that holds interchangeable medically pure metal discs against the skin for as long as one week. It is the first patented wearable metal test kit in the world.
Reiter and Drzala became aware that many patients who underwent routine metal implant procedures were experiencing poor outcomes. Although these procedures had been executed properly, weeks and months later, some patients experienced persistent pain. Others reported generalized symptoms including fatigue, chronic aches and weakness.
The physicians noticed that many doctors were diagnosing patients with nebulous conditions like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and Lyme disease. Some were diagnosed with psychological conditions like depression.
After one of their patients developed extensive skin rashes after implantation of an artificial cervical metallic disc replacement device, subsequent testing identified a severe allergy to cobalt. When medications failed to provide relief, surgical intervention was necessary to remove the device, and all allergic symptoms resolved.
Drzala himself had been suffering with unusual symptoms including fatigue, episodic brain fog and burning pain in his extremities. After consulting more than a dozen specialists, he was diagnosed with a metal allergy due to the mercury in his silver dental fillings, which were removed, and his symptoms resolved.
These experiences led the doctors to question whether the metals within implanted medical devices could be problematic. They were also keenly aware that routine testing for allergies to metals prior to implant surgery rarely occurred, and therefore invented Sensiband.
Sensiband’s easy-to-use, more affordable and convenient testing kits rely on a harmless skin reaction to detect metal allergies. It is a wearable wristband that is convenient and can be used at home, work and/or play rather than having to visit a physician’s office to undergo one of the two current test options, which include skin patch or blood testing, which are inconvenient, expensive and burdened with limitations.
Each Sensiband kit contains nickel, cobalt, titanium, chromium and other metals commonly found in knee and hip replacements, dental implants and even cardiac stents. If a skin reaction develops (contact dermatitis), it’s likely that individual is allergic to that metal. They can then inform their surgeon of their allergy. Doctors have implant options and can choose the most appropriate implants for their patients and can avoid those metals to which patients are allergic.