An international team of researchers has created a wireless bio-patch that can be attached to breast cancer patients for monitoring of a risk factor associated with the failure of breast reconstruction surgery.
Part of the Smart Sensing for Surgery project, the development was led by Imperial College London and funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
The wireless bio-patch is embedded with electronics that can measure oxygen saturation levels in transferred tissue, following the surgery. The monitoring is carried out for 48 hours.
These oxygen saturation levels are considered as a critical indicator of reconstruction failure risk. The researchers expect that an early warning would enable effective action.
Smart Sensing for Surgery project head Guang-Zhong Yang said: “Clinical signs of failure often occur late and patients may be returned to the operating room on clinical suspicion.
“Our new bio-patch tackles this problem by providing objective data as an early warning system for medical staff, enabling earlier and simpler interventions, as well as giving patients increased peace of mind.”
The new bio-patch is made of sensors encapsulated in fully biocompatible materials. It leverages near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) to capture and transmit encrypted data.
In early clinical trials, the sensing device is reported to have shown the capability to continuously monitor the level of oxygen saturation. It is expected to be available for clinical use in two to three years.
The research team is working on securing support for advancing the device into further development stages.
Its application is also being tested in monitoring other conditions, including dementia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).