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Bioresorbable pressure sensors protected with thermally grown silicon dioxide for the monitoring of chronic diseases and healing processes


Pressures in the intracranial, intraocular and intravascular spaces are clinically useful for the diagnosis and management of traumatic brain injury, glaucoma and hypertension, respectively. Conventional devices for measuring these pressures require surgical extraction after a relevant operational time frame. Bioresorbable sensors, by contrast, eliminate this requirement, thereby minimizing the risk of infection, decreasing the costs of care and reducing distress and pain for the patient. However, the operational lifetimes of bioresorbable pressure sensors available at present fall short of many clinical needs. Here, we present materials, device structures and fabrication procedures for bioresorbable pressure sensors with lifetimes exceeding those of previous reports by at least tenfold. We demonstrate measurement accuracies that compare favourably to those of the most sophisticated clinical standards for non-resorbable devices by monitoring intracranial pressures in rats for 25 days. Assessments of the biodistribution of the constituent materials, complete blood counts, blood chemistry and magnetic resonance imaging compatibility confirm the biodegradability and clinical utility of the device. Our findings establish routes for the design and fabrication of bioresorbable pressure monitors that meet requirements for clinical use.

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Fig. 1: Materials and designs for long-lived, inorganic bioresorbable pressure sensors.
Fig. 2: Kinetics of dissolution of a bioresorbable pressure sensor.
Fig. 3: In vivo measurements of the elemental biodistribution and biocompatibility of bioresorbable devices throughout their functional lifetimes and beyond.
Fig. 4: Acute and chronic monitoring of intracranial temperature and pressure in rats using bioresorbable sensors.
Fig. 5: MRI compatibility of bioresorbable sensors.

Data availability

The authors declare that all data supporting the findings of this study are available in the paper and its Supplementary Information.


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J.S. thanks G. Mensing and J. Maduzia at the Micro-Nano-Mechanical Systems Cleanroom (University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign) for assistance with process development. J.S. acknowledges support from True Phantom Solutions Inc. with the preparation of brain phantoms for MRI compatibility tests. Y.X. acknowledges support from the Ryan Fellowship and the Northwestern University International Institute for Nanotechnology. L.T. acknowledges support from a Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship at UIUC. I.K. acknowledges support from Cancer Center Support grant no. P30 CA060553 (National Cancer Institute) awarded to the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center. K.J.Y. acknowledges support from the National Research Foundation of Korea (grant nos. NRF-2017M1A2A2048880 and NRF-2018M3A7B4071109) and Yonsei University Future-leading Research Initiative of 2017 (grant no. RMS2 2018-22-0028). Y.H. acknowledges support from the NSF (grant nos. 1400169, 1534120 and 1635443).

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Authors and Affiliations



J.S., W.B., Y.L., M.C., J.K., H.R., J.-K.C., S.-K.K., S.M.W., K.J.Y. and J.A.R. designed and fabricated the sensors. J.S., Y.L., M.C., H.R., J.Z. and Y.K.L. conceived and performed the dissolution studies. J.S., W.B., I.K. and M.P. performed the biodistribution, toxicity and histology studies. Y.Y., P.G., M.R.M. and W.Z.R. performed the in vivo ICP measurements and analysed data. Y.X. and Y.H. performed mechanical simulations. J.S., Y.Y., L.T., C.R.H., W.S. and S.-K.S. performed the CT and MRI studies. J.S., Y.Y., W.B., Y.X., W.Z.R. and J.A.R. wrote the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Wilson Z. Ray or John A. Rogers.

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Shin, J., Yan, Y., Bai, W. et al. Bioresorbable pressure sensors protected with thermally grown silicon dioxide for the monitoring of chronic diseases and healing processes. Nat Biomed Eng 3, 37–46 (2019).

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