Miniaturization Leading to Big Advances in Implant Technology

June 02, 2016

Wellesley, Mass., June 02, 2016 – The microelectronic implant industry has come a long way since the first heart pacemakers appeared on the market in the 1970s.  BCC Research reveals in its new report that miniaturization remains a key factor in developing more-sophisticated implantable devices.

Microelectronic medical implants are medical devices that incorporate microelectronic components (e.g., integrated circuits and microelectromechanical systems [MEMs]) and implanted inside the body to achieve a physiological response. This definition includes leads, electrodes, and other accessories implanted in patients.

The global market for microelectronic medical implants is projected to grow to $24.6 billion and $37.6 billion in 2016 and 2021, respectively, reflecting a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.8%. Cardiac implants as a segment captured 70% of the total market on sales of $16.1 billion in 2015.  Eye implants and ear implants should represent the two fastest-growing segments at projected five-year CAGRs of 74.3% and 15.1%, respectively. Meanwhile, sales of cardiac implants and accessories are projected to lag behind, with five-year CAGRs of 7.6% and 8.8%, respectively.

The latest generations of sensors, which are smaller, more robust and more sensitive than their predecessors, are opening up new possibilities for implantable medical devices. MEMS electrochemical gas sensors are being developed that have considerable potential for monitoring blood gas and other physiological parameters that rely on amperometric (analyte-dependent current flow) and potentiometric (analyte-dependent electrical potential) transduction mechanisms.

Looking forward, various groups of researchers are developing the technology for a radio frequency (RF) communications system/body area network (BAN) that will enable communication between medical devices implanted in the body and an external data processor/base unit of up to three meters away.  For example, Dutch researchers have demonstrated a new type of BAN incorporating a “dongle” that plugs into the SD card slot of a cell phone, enabling the streaming of data from implanted sensors to the cell phone, enabling real-time communications to remote locations such as a hospital or doctor’s office.

Miniaturization remains a key process in developing implantable devices that have minimum adverse impact on the wearer’s quality of life. Miniaturization also has improved power efficiency and circuit operating speed by reducing the resistive and reactive effects of traditional wiring and integrated circuit (IC) lead systems.

“Most of the progress in miniaturizing implantable medical devices over the last 20 years has been achieved through a combination of integrated circuits (ICs), surface-mount devices (SMDs) and specialized printed circuit board (PCB) design,” says BCC Research analyst Andrew McWilliams. “There is every reason to believe that pacemakers and other implantable devices will continue to get smaller and more sophisticated over time. In particular, breakthroughs in MEMS manufacturing should lead to smaller implants with greatly increased capabilities.”

Microelectronic Medical Implants: Products, Technologies & Opportunities (HLC016E) analyzes microelectronic devices designed to operate within the human body, implant types and applications, both commercial and developmental. Analyses of global market drivers and trends, with data from 2015, 2016, and projections of CAGRs through 2021 also are provided.

Editors and reporters who wish to speak with the analyst should contact Steven Cumming at

Microelectronic Medical Implants: Products, Technologies & Opportunities( HLC016E )
Publish Date: May 2016    

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