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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Long term soft tissue fixation and mechanical reliability of a ceramic housing for a new radio frequency transmitter Hori, Bryan David


This project was focused on the design and suitability of the housing component of a new telemetry device to be implanted into young Steller sea lions. The housing’s suitability is assessed on its long term performance for stable implantation for lifetimes of up to 30 years. An aluminums oxide ceramic material is selected as the housing material as it meets radio frequency, biocompatibility and strength requirements. The housing design consists of a solid base and porous top surface with an inner cavity for electronics potted in epoxy. Aptness of the design for implantation involved investigating the response of the housing to biological and mechanical factors. Biological response was examined by assessing tissue fixation of porous aluminums oxide. Disc implants (36), with a top porous surface of pore size 32 pm and thicknesses of 0.5 mm and 1.0 mm, were sub-dermally implanted into the backs of young rabbits. Due to surgical complications, 33 tags were inserted under the cutaneous trunci muscle, while the remaining were inserted above it. A favourable tissue reaction was assessed in all cases. All implants migrated with the skin growth a distance of 4.69 ± 1.48cm. Half of the implants moved an additional 1.74 ± 1.93cm caused by a combination of externally applied forces and loose tissue attachment. Loose tissue attachment was a result of implantation into subcutaneous fat tissue and the inability of implant encapsulated tissue in integrating with the fat layers. The response of the housing to mechanical factors was examined by applying loading conditions (cyclic fatigue, compression, puncture and impact) that simulate what is expected in-service. Implants were able to resist fracture due to compression and puncture while impact suitability is achieved when considering energy absorption by the surrounding tissue. The derived housing design has good potential for future implantation into Steller sea-lions. Further research is required to examine implant fixation and migration in dermal tissue compared to subcutaneous tissue. As the implants will move from the insertion location in growing skin, cranial skin growth patterns should be considered prior to implantation into Steller sea lions.

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