Dissolvable implants being researched to monitor brain injuries

A person who suffers from a brain injury that is causing the brain to swell has to be monitored so that appropriate action can be taken if the pressure on the brain gets too high. Currently, monitoring the pressure on the brain involves very invasive procedures. A monitor is placed in the head and wires are placed through the skin. Those wires are attached to the machines that monitor the pressure.

The current way of monitoring temperature and pressure on the brain comes with considerable risks. Placing the device, the wires that poke through the skin and removing the device all put the patient at risk of an infection. A new device could put an end to the need to use this procedure to monitor pressure on the brain.

The new device is still in the early stages of research, but it is showing promise. A recent trial done on rats that showed that these dissolvable implants could continuously monitor the patient's brain for three days without the need for cumbersome external wiring. Even the wiring that connects a head-mounted device is biodegradable, so there is no need for any removal surgery.

These implants dissolve after a certain period of time, which is currently too short. Researches note that patients have be monitored for several days after the injury. Researchers would like the implants to last a few weeks before they dissolve.

Until this new implant moves through the various trial stages and is approved for use, patients will still have to deal with the cumbersome and risky monitoring devices. Patients who suffered a brain injury because of the negligence of another person might decide to seek compensation for their injury.

Source: Live Science, "Dissolving Implants Could Monitor the Brain One Day, Rat Study Shows," Charles Q. Choi, Jan. 19, 2016

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