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The use of bioabsorbable polymers in the medical device industry dates back to the early 1970s with the introduction of bioabsorbable sutures for use in general surgery. In the decades since, the usage of bioabsorbable polymers has grown in popularity, especially for applications seeking to provide an alternative to metal stents and other implantable components. A key advantage of bioabsorbable polymers over other materials is their innate ability to be absorbed naturally by the body, eliminating the need for permanent device implantation or for surgical removal at a later date.
Today, most of the commercially available bioabsorbable devices are composed of synthetic polyesters, primarily homopolymers and copolymers of poly(L-lactide) (PLLA) and poly(glycolide) (PGA) and poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL). These three polymers offer a baseline for the design of copolymers, terpolymers, and blends with properties tailored to meet the demands of specific medical applications. Critical attributes of a bioabsorbable device, such as the absorption profile and the mechanical properties (e.g. strength, rigidity and toughness), can be customized by taking advantage of the varying degradation rates (due to differing levels of susceptibility to hydrolysis), thermal transitions (e.g. glass transitions), and crystallinity that are available within this special class of polymers.
The absorption profile is defined by the mechanical integrity loss profile and the mass loss profile. In most applications, especially those of a load-bearing nature, the mechanical integrity loss profile should coincide with the healing and restoration profile of the tissues being treated. Through the combination of polymer design and polymer processing, the absorption profile can be controlled allowing for highly tailored treatment options.
Zeus works with a number of bioabsorbable homopolymers including poly(L-lactide) (PLLA), poly(glycolide) (PGA), poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL), and polydioxanone (PDO), as well as copolymers such as poly(L-lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA), poly(L-lactide-co-caprolactone) (PLC), poly(L-lactide-co-DL-lactide) (PLDLLA), and poly(D,L-lactide-co-glycolide) (PDLGA). Our ability to select and blend the above materials coupled with our processing capabilities allow us to produce high precision tubular geometries, monofilaments, special profiles, ribbons, and microporous non-woven fabrics for use in a number of clinical applications across multiple disciplines including coronary and peripheral vascular intervention, structural heart intervention, drug delivery, brachytherapy, gastroenterology, and otolaryngology (ENT).
Note: The information in the Zeus catalog, website, and other sources presents and discusses generally accepted properties for non-pigmented virgin polymer resins from which Zeus fabricates its line of extruded products. Actual properties may change due to processing method, resin grade, product dimensions, and other variables. It is the end user’s responsibility to fully evaluate and test the fitness of each product for their specific application.
Bioabsorbable Stents and Occluders – Stents of customizable shapes and sizes are made possible by the high-strength, tunable-stiffness, and unique thermal properties of bioabsorbable polymers, especially when produced in an oriented/drawn fiber form.
Bioabsorbable Vascular Scaffolds – Bioabsorbable polymers are uniquely qualified to be converted into vascular scaffolds that provide temporary luminal support and controlled delivery of anti-proliferative drugs for the treatment of vascular disease, including coronary artery disease (CAD), peripheral artery disease (PAD), and neurovascular disease.
Controlled Drug Delivery – The wide range of absorption profiles, achieved via polymer design and specialized polymer processing techniques, allows for the creation of highly tailorable degradation-mediated and diffusion-mediated drug delivery vehicles.
Brachytherapy Strands and Spacers – The versatility of Zeus’ bioabsorbable polymers is on full display in their use as critical components for life-saving prostate brachytherapy, wherein radioactive seeds are held in position by both bioabsorbable tubing and bioabsorbable monofilament spacers.
Cosmetic Face-lift Fibers – Capable of being produced with various tissue anchoring mechanisms, bioabsorbable drawn fibers are the perfect solution for minimally invasive cosmetic procedures with patient comfort and satisfaction in mind.
Gastrointestinal Devices – Bioabsorbable polymers go big in this arena paving the way for treatments with large-anatomy devices with tunable structural support and multiple mechanisms of delivery.
Dental and Periodontal Devices – In a highly dynamic environment such as the mouth, the ability of bioabsorbable polymers to soften and quickly absorb allows for multiple treatment options in bone regeneration and augmentation.
Absorv™ Bioabsorbable Extrusions – Absorv™ is our family of bioabsorbable extrusions consisting of tubing, oriented tubing, monofilament, drawn fiber, and ribbon. Absorv™ products are capable of safely existing in the body for controlled lengths of time before being absorbed and eliminated naturally.
- KEY PROPERTIES
Bioabsorbable – A key advantage of bioabsorbable polymers over other materials is their innate ability to be absorbed naturally by the body, eliminating the need for permanent device implantation or for surgical removal at a later date.
Used in FDA-Approved Medical Devices – Zeus bioabsorbables are used in FDA-approved medical devices.
Ability to Match Absorption Profile with Healing Profile – In most applications, especially those of a load-bearing nature, the absorption profile and more specifically, the mechanical integrity-loss profile, should coincide with the healing and restoration profile of the tissues being treated.
Different Properties for Different Devices – Bioabsorbable polymers are highly customizable. Combining their tailored chemistries with application-specific processing techniques, devices ranging from gels for drug delivery to high-strength bone-fixation devices are made possible.
Tunable Thermal and Mechanical Properties – From homopolymers, to copolymers, to terpolymers to blends, the precise control over glass transitions and crystallinity allow for polymer morphologies suitable for controlled levels of molecular orientation leading to optimal mechanical properties such as high strength and toughness.
Controlled Load Transfer – For dental implants, the interface with bone plays a critical role in how the implant is accepted and functions for long term well-being. By controlling the degradation rate of implants made with our bioabsorbable materials, the stresses commonly associated with these implants are reduced.
Safely Existing in the Body – Our bioabsorbable products can safely exist in the body for extended periods and elicit no adverse effects as is often associated with implanted metals.
No Explanation Surgery – As our bioabsorbables are absorbed by the body, there is no need for a second surgery to remove an implanted device made with our bioabsorbable products.