WEB EXCLUSIVE: A new line of thermoplastic marker bands for fluoroscopic illumination of catheter tips used in minimally invasive medical procedures is said reduce costs by eliminating traditional gold or platinum marker bands. They also offer greater adhesion to catheter shaft tips. Developed by Putnam Plastics Corp., Dayville, Conn., these bands are made from tungsten-filled nylons, TPUs, and other TPEs. Bands are customized using the same polymer specified for the catheter shaft to allow heat bonding of the band for a more secure assembly. Tungsten loadings range from 65% to 80% by weight to meet radiopacity requirements.
A traditional marker band is a short, thin-walled tube made from gold or platinum that is placed on the tip of the catheter shaft to provide high visibility during fluoroscopy. This allows surgeons to precisely locate the catheter features deep within the body for deployment of balloons, stents, and other devices in blood vessels. These metal marker bands require a multi-step forming process to create seamless small-diameter tubes. Specialized manufacturing equipment is used to crimp or swage metal bands to the polymer shaft tip so that they don’t fall off during the medical procedure. This process is reportedly costly and time consuming, and quality controls to ensure sufficient mechanical bonding between these dissimilar materials can be significant.
Using proprietary coextrusion technology, Putnam applies an unfilled polymeric outer surface to these bands, similar to the surface of the catheter shaft, to ensure minimal trauma to blood-vessel walls. “Our thermoplastic composite bands are cut from tubes extruded in a single process, which can provide cost savings and shorten lead times. Plus, our bands offer outstanding radiopacity and can be thermally bonded to shafts for greater quality assurance,” says general manager Ray Rilling.
(860) 774-1559 • putnamplastics.com