Implanted monitors that can dissolve are being researched

Monitoring brain injuries is something that has traditionally involved very cumbersome equipment. When cumbersome equipment wasn’t used, monitoring sometimes involves having implants placed that have to be removed later. Both the insertion and the removal place the patient in danger of infection and other complications.

When monitors are implanted in the brain now, they must be connected to an external monitor. That means that leads or wires must be threaded through the skin. That opening in the skin poses a threat for infection. A recent study might mean that monitoring brain injuries is going to be a little easier and little safer.

In the study, which was done in rats, researchers inserted a rice-sized implant into each rat’s head. The interesting fact about the implants is that they are dissolvable. After a few weeks, the entire implant dissolves into the person’s body. That takes away the need to have a surgery to remove the implant when the need to monitor the patient has passed.

While monitoring the rats, it was noted that the implants could only monitor continuously for three days. That will need to be improved if the implants will be used for people who have suffered a traumatic brain injury. Generally, these patients must be monitored for several days. Ideally, the implants would need to work for a few weeks. Researchers are working on the necessary improvements.

These implants haven’t yet moved to human trials. Even if these implants are made widely available, it still won’t mean that the recovery of these patients is any easier. Some TBI patients might choose to seek compensation for their injuries.

Source: The Guardian, “Dissolvable wireless sensors monitor brain injury,” Mo Costandi, Jan. 19, 2016