There are a range of different types of devices that can be implanted into people, from pacemakers to cochlear implants and beyond. These devices are meant to help patients, but the human body often treats the devices like a disease or problem, rejecting them and causing issues for the person with the device. Anti-inflammatories can help, and a new one that was recently developed has proved to be fairly effective when tested in mice. The medication was put into the lining of the implants as a way of making it more likely that the implants would not be rejected. The new treatment with a different type of cover was tested to see if the mice would have less of a reaction to the implant to see if it would reduce the bodies’ reactions to the implanted device. If it proves to be effective, medical professionals would like to see if it can be used for prosthetics that are attached to patients’ nerves.
When the body attacks implants, it’s because the devices are being recognized as foreign bodies, causing a reaction similar to what happens with a viral or bacterial reaction. The immune system attacks the device, causing scar tissue to form around it. This tissue makes it hard for the electrical stimulation of the devices to reach their intended target. When this happens, removal of the device is required to try to fix the signal. The body’s reaction is what typically causes devices to fail. Currently, other anti-inflammatory medications are used to prevent the issue, but it also means that the area around the device can’t properly heal. While most of the testing still occurs in mice, there has been limited use in humans.
If you or someone you care about has medical device implants, you can read the full article at Anti-inflammatory Drug Reduces Foreign Body Reaction to Medical Device Implants.
* O’Connell and Associates provides this article for informational purposes only.