Materials and surface science institute MSSI develops medical alloy
Scientists and engineers from the Materials and Surface Science Institute MSSI at the University of Limerick, Ireland, invented a new metal that will make medical devices inside the body more visible under x-ray. Many medical devices, such as stents and valves, are placed in the body through minimally invasive surgical procedures that are usually performed with the help of medical imaging such as x-ray fluoroscopy. Current materials used to make these devices do not show up well under x-ray.
“An ideal solution is a device that is fully visible under x-ray,” explains Syed Tofail, lead scientist, “but has to be based on approved alloys for medical devices. Many companies use gold or platinum to modify existing alloys, which improve x-ray visibility but are expensive. We identified a number of alloying elements that will make these devices as visible as those where platinum has been added to enhance the visibility, but at a significantly reduced cost. Tests on a prototype wire of the new alloy show potential for use in a number of products.”