Originally reserved for cardiovascular applications, medical stent manufacturing now increasingly applies to a wide variety of medical industry applications including birth control, kidney stone pain control, and esophageal and gastrointestinal uses.
Introduced in 1986 as laser cut stainless steel tubes, medical stents have changed the way that doctors treat coronary heart disease. Implanted in the coronary artery, the metal mesh tubes help to prevent artery collapse or closure. Industry demand has remained consistent over the past few decades through the continuous development of new stent materials.
Materials ranging from new alloys to bioabsorbable polymers allow for more intricate stent designs and advanced capabilities. Common intravascular stent materials now include:
- Nitinol – Also known as nickel titanium, a super elastic shape memory metal used to create self-expanding stents, which are typically implanted in peripheral arteries.
- Stainless steel – The component’s original design material, which is known for its corrosion resistance.
- Cobalt-chromium alloys (CoCr) – Provide increased strength to allow for thinner struts.
- Magnesium alloys (Mg) – New biodegradable materials that come at a hefty cost.
- Bioabsorbable polymers – Capable of temporarily treating or remodeling vessels to make them healthy before the stent material are fully absorbed, these have the potential to improve clinical outcomes.
Any tubular or flat stent material can undergo laser cutting for high precision fabrication. The laser cutting process is conducted using nanosecond-long pulsed infrared lasers; though effective, the process often results in suboptimal surface conditions. To enhance cut quality and meet accuracy requirements, engineers have developed post-processing techniques such as cleaning, etching, deburring, and final polishing.
Medical device manufacturers can also perform secondary processes including coating and surface finishing on stents. In addition, Nitinol components can now be manipulated through a shape-setting process that leverages the material’s elasticity as well. Medical devices with Nitinol have a growing competitive advantage in the medical world, as the metal is quickly becoming the material of choice in stent manufacturing.
Laserage Technology Corporation is an ISO 13485 certified leader in laser processing, with a special focus on stents and other medical components. Through the use of our custom-designed CO2, Nd:YAG, fiber, disk and Femto laser systems, our Midwest and West Coast facilities offer a wide variety of laser processing services from prototyping to both low or high volume stent production.
At Laserage, we help medical manufacturers reach the highest levels of performance within a short turnaround time by continuously adapting to the changes and demands of the medical industry. For more information about Laserage’s capabilities and to learn about the advancements made in the stent manufacturing industry, download our new eBook, “The Evolution of Medical Stents” today.