Many implantable medical devices contain sophisticated electronic circuits. Hermetic packaging is required to provide the implant’s electronic circuitry
with protection from the harsh environment of the human body. This chapter provides a review of available hermetic sealing methods and their applications.
General considerations of implantable medical device packaging are discussed. Various testing methods applicable to the packaging of implantable medical devices are also presented. Many issues associated with hermetic packaging are not yet completely understood, nor are any corresponding difficulties completely overcome. The continued miniaturization of future implantable medical devices provides both opportunities and challenges for packaging/materials engineers to improve the existing packaging methods, and to develop new methods. Reliable hermetic micro packaging technologies are the key to a wide utilization of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) in miniaturized implantable medical devices.
Implantable medical devices have been widely used to restore body functions, improve the quality of life, or save lives. Experts estimate that 8 to 10 percent of all Americans (some 20 million to 25 million people), or about 1 in 17 people in industrialized countries, carry some form of implanted device. Many medical devices, such as the implantable cardiac defibrillator, cochlear implant, artificial vision prosthesis, neuromuscular microstimulator, and the like contain sophisticated electronic circuits. Such long-term implantable medical devices are susceptible to damage by body fluids over time. Hermetic packaging is required to protect the
electronic circuitry of the implant from the harsh environment of the human body.