Monitoring a patient’s brain after a brain injury currently involves a very invasive procedure. The patient has to have a sensor implanted surgically. Once the sensor is placed, wires are threaded through the skin. Those wires connect the sensor with the equipment used to monitor the brain. This means that the patient is confined to a small space within reach of the monitor. When the monitoring period is over, the sensor then has to be removed surgically. With two surgeries and wires poking through the skin, the pain and chance of infection are present.
A new sensor that is being tested aims to change the process for monitoring the brain. The sensor is tiny and dissolvable. Since it dissolves, there is no need for a surgery to remove the device when the monitoring period is finished. Another benefit to the technology that is being tested is that the device is wireless, so patients won’t have to be restricted to a very small area. It also reduces the risk of infection.
Measuring the pressure on the brain is one of the uses for these sensors. They might also be used to monitor the temperature of the brain. It is hoped that the technology might also be able to be used to monitor other organs. The intimate information these sensors can provide is often more than what can be gathered using imaging scans and other similar diagnostic testing.
For people who suffer a brain injury in a car accident, this technology is a promising change. It will be interesting to keep an eye on the studies published about this as they become available.
Source: Engineering.com, “Dissolvable Wireless Brain Monitoring Sensors,” Tanya Yevsyeyev, Jan. 22, 2016