Batch codes and unique identifiers in Implants - thoughts?

I've been tearing apart a medical device I was given for an article I'm writing and the little card these things always come with got me thinking. Would we ever want something like a registry of devices. Ok, so hear me out. The point of this is that at any time, if a device fails or is recalled, it allows anyone having a device with that problem to be contacted rapidly. Inversely, the device itself can be instantly identified and correlated to it's owner. This all sounds like a good thing to me but..

Why does there need to be a unique identifier? Anyone with a prosthetic ass implant of type AB12 would be registered as having received it right? A serial code on the actual device is irrelevant except for really weird stuff. I mean, if someone got some high tech implant.. then had it pulled out and placed in someone else.. and then THEY died from the implant maybe the serial number would matter? Or if someone died period we could figure out who they were? I'm grasping at straws trying to figure out why it would be important to incorporate a unique identifier in an implant. At one point does pulling something out and looking it up seem superior to putting a name in a database.. a database which mind you does exist. I don't see any realistic immediate benefit.

The inverse of this is why wouldn't you want someone to be able to run a scanner over you and have it say it's a model 12z prosthetic doom leg with serial number whatever? Are we concerned that they're going to start cataloguing biohackers? What are your thought? I mean, I probably write a short story of people going around scanning for the penis implants used by homosexuals or something but once again I don't see any realistic immediate harm.

Based on that reasoning, I'd probably go with why take the risk? We could place all medical info and device information in our NFC implants to receive the same benefits while retaining the option to change or omit information. Thoughts?


  • The identifier is probably to distinguish the units during assembly and distribution. The only real use-case I can see once it's implanted is to identify which batch it was from if it failed prematurely
  • Yes, which is fine for the majority of products. Something like an incorporated low freq id tag would be fine with me personally. But, from an overall perspective I feel like ID coding everything could have unforseen consequences. Either people get back to us with their failures or they don't. When am I going to recieve a mysterious unknown thats failed in some dangerous way?
  • Oh... I'm not sure I'm following. Medical companies do it for their own internal benefit. RFID biohackers do it because they have to use commercially available chips with IDs, we have no choice. For any implants you make that don't use NFC you can omit any form of unique identifier if you want. I can see where it would cause issues with anonymity and tracking, especially for marginalized groups. I don't see an avenue where we could request that medical device manufacturers remove unique identifiers though?
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