News Column

Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Implantable Medical Device for Minimally-Invasive Insertion", for Approval

July 16, 2014

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Electronics Newsweekly -- From Washington, D.C., VerticalNews journalists report that a patent application by the inventor Farra, Robert (Acton, MA), filed on December 20, 2013, was made available online on July 3, 2014.

The patent's assignee is MicroCHIPS, Inc.

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Typical implantable medical devices, such as pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators, are designed with two or more housing components or shells that contain the control electronics, power source, and other device specific components. A header is also used to provide electrical connections into and out of the device. The housing and header (or feedthrough) are designed to be hermetic to prevent liquid or gas exchange between the internal components (which are typically not biocompatible) and body fluids. It is noted, however, that certain implants with epoxy based headers do not achieve long term hermeticity. Design and manufacturing methods of implantable devices have evolved with the goal of ensuring hermeticity.

"MicroCHIPS Inc. designs and manufactures implantable devices based on microchips that include reservoir arrays containing biosensors or drugs, for example. FIG. 1 shows a possible conventional approach for assembly of components in an implantable medical device 10, which includes a microchip assembly 12. The microchip assembly 12, which is also referred to as a microchip element, includes microreservoirs, each of which may contain a drug for controlled delivery in vivo or a sensor for controlled exposure in vivo. The microchip assembly 12 is attached to a feedthrough 16 that is welded to the housing 14. Such microchip assemblies or elements are described, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 7,510,551 to Uhland et al. and U.S. Pat. No. 7,604,628 to Santini Jr. et al. The feedthrough 16 contains electrically conductive pins that are metallurgically brazed to metallized surfaces on and through an alumina disc. A typical pin count exceeds 100, and in more complex designs, can be over 400. The consequence of such designs is that each pin connection potentially can be a leak point.

"In addition, each feedthrough pin is electrically connected to an electronic component inside the housing. Some designs utilize a wire from the pin to the circuit, while the illustrated design attaches the feedthrough 16 directly to a conventional plastic circuit board 18 (which generally would be unsuitable for continuous in vivo contact with the patient). These electrical connections require testing to ensure continuity. As a result, the pin count impacts the cost of the feedthrough, and that cost increases as the number of feedthrough pins increases in the implantable device. Consequently, due to this complex design requirement, the resulting manufacturing, and the required acceptance tests, the feedthrough is a relatively expensive component.

"Another disadvantage of conventional implantable device designs based on a feedthrough or header attached to housing components is that the overall volume of the resulting device is larger than ideally desired, because several discrete components make up the assembly.

"Furthermore, electronic-based implantable devices that use radio frequency to wirelessly transfer information in and out of the body require an antenna. Radio frequency waves are significantly attenuated when the antenna is placed in a conventional metallic housing, and therefore, the antenna typically is placed on the surface of the housing, utilizing the existing feedthrough or another feedthrough dedicated for this application.

"It therefore would be desirable to eliminate or mitigate any or all of the foregoing disadvantages associated with conventional designs of implantable medical devices. In one particular need, it would be desirable to provide improved housing hermeticity (e.g., fewer potential leak paths), simpler construction, and a smaller overall device volume.

"In conjunction with the desire to provide improved hermetic reservoir devices, it would also be advantageous to improve the manner in which such actively-controlled reservoir devices can be operably deployed into a patient in need thereof. For example, it would be desirable to reduce the size of incisions and/or increase the possible range of tissue sites into which the device can be suitably deployed without undue pain or discomfort to the patient. It would be desirable to provide device configurations conducive to such uses in patients."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "Some or all of the above needs and/or problems may be addressed by one or more embodiments described herein. In one embodiment, a containment device is provided that includes an elongated microchip element having one or more containment reservoirs that are configured to be electrically activated to open. The containment device also includes an elongated electronic printed circuit board (PCB) comprising a biocompatible substrate. The elongated PCB also comprises a first side on which one or more electronic components are fixed and an opposed second side on which the elongated microchip element is fixed in electrical connection to the one or more electronic components. Further, the containment device includes an elongated housing fixed to the elongated PCB. The elongated housing is configured to hermetically seal the one or more electronic components of the elongated PCB within the elongated housing.

"Other embodiments, aspects, and features of the containment device will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description, the accompanying drawings, and the appended claims.


"Reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings, which are not necessarily drawn to scale.

"FIG. 1 schematically depicts an exploded perspective view of a prior art containment device including a microchip assembly.

"FIG. 2A schematically depicts a cross-sectional view of an assembled containment device including a microchip assembly according to an embodiment.

"FIG. 2B schematically depicts an exploded cross-sectional view of the containment device shown in FIG. 2A.

"FIG. 2C schematically depicts a top view of the containment device shown in FIGS. 2A and 2B.

"FIG. 3 schematically depicts a perspective view of the containment device illustrated in FIGS. 2A-2C.

"FIG. 4 schematically depicts a close-up, cross-sectional view of a portion of a containment device according to an embodiment.

"FIG. 5A schematically depicts a cross-sectional view of a microchip element assembly according to an embodiment.

"FIG. 5B schematically depicts an exploded cross-sectional view of the microchip element assembly shown in FIG. 5A.

"FIG. 6 schematically depicts a cross-sectional close-up view of a portion of an assembled containment device including a microchip assembly according to an embodiment."

For additional information on this patent application, see: Farra, Robert. Implantable Medical Device for Minimally-Invasive Insertion. Filed December 20, 2013 and posted July 3, 2014. Patent URL:

Keywords for this news article include: Circuit Board, MicroCHIPS Inc, Electronic Components.

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Source: Electronics Newsweekly

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