March 22, 2012

Medical Stent Technology Primer

We are seeing an increase in the number of legal cases involving medical stents. We thought it might be interesting to get a technical perspective on how these stents work. Dr. Stanley Tocker has several patents in stent technology and shares the following:

Surgical stents are complicated, coated metal, mesh-like flexible tubular devices for improving blood flow in arteries by reducing plaque blockage (restinosis). As foreign bodies, stents themselves are anchor sites where plaque build-up can occur. Hence, these devices are coated with proprietary polymers containing powerful slow releasing anti-clogging chemicals.

The overall dimensions of these stents is under 3 mm. by 30 mm, based on a flexible laser cast stainless steel or a nickel-titanium alloy structure. They are coated with a permanently bonded polymer that releases an anti restinosis drug at a pre-determined rate.

All of these components must work together for prolonged service. The fabrication processes are exquisitely demanding in terms of evenness and smoothness. Many types of scientists and engineers have contributed to stent technology, which is still a vigorous effort.

Stents are continuously evolving, with new advances being constantly introduced. In upcoming blog posts, we will ask Dr. Tocker to comment on new technologies and possible trends in stent litigation.

Dr. Stanley Tocker is a chemist specializing in controlled release and stent technologies. He is a Vice President and Project Manager for The CECON Group.  For more information, click here.