Implanting Microchips in Employees Hands? Hear from the Expert on WQOW and WEAU

Posted 7/27/2017

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A news story quickly went viral when discussing a Wisconsin company implanting microchips under their employees’ skin. The process is meant to speed up any task using RFID technology. What seems more shocking to the public is employees are lining up for the procedure. Hear what Dr. Merrick has to say about this topic as seen on WQOW and WEAU. 

The news that a Wisconsin company plans to offer implantable microchips in employees’ hands raises a number of important questions. These devices have been used on and off for a variety of applications since 1998 when an Englishman developed the procedure. The uses include security, purchasing (commerce), storage of information (medical records) and theoretically to locate individuals using GPS.

Potential problems related to microchip implantation include a theoretical cancer risk. The development of soft tissue cancers such as sarcomas can arise in areas surrounding foreign implants in both humans and animals. This risk is exceeding low. Of greatest concern in the hand is migration of the device. The chip is implanted in a subcutaneous area but in the hand where is the tissues are subjected to near constant motion, we can see migration of foreign objects. So far migration of these microchips has not been a major issue.  

Despite the relative safety of implantation, the chief concern with these devices is security. Currently, these chips are unencrypted which means that your hand could be scanned and the signal could be duplicated. This would render the original purpose of the chip (security, purchasing) unsecured. In essence, with a small handheld device, your hand could be hacked and your chip could be used by whoever now possesses your ID. 

Dr. Merrick is a board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in disorders of the hand and general plastic surgery, cosmetic surgery and reconstructive surgery. His goal is to help every patient find solutions to their health and wellness concerns. Dr. Merrick has offices in Eau Claire, Cumberland, Hayward, Ladysmith, and Shell Lake.

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