Catheters play a pivotal role in many medical procedures that are performed today. A catheter is a medically graded thin tube that is designed to treat a specific medical disease or perform specific practices. Procedures such as heart biopsies, cardiac ablation, heart valve replacements, assisting with urinary incontinence, and treating multiple sclerosis and dementia can utilize these devices. The process of catheter manufacturing is vital for medical issues being able to be treated and for the device to work as intended.
There can be different methodologies of catheter manufacturing depending on the material or operation wanting to be focused on. The first consideration is to determine the application the catheter will be utilized in. Characteristics such as the torque needed to be handled, steerability, tip structure, balloon usage, and diameter of the catheter are aspects to consider. Where in the body the work will be done is vital as well for determining how the catheter should be designed. The material choices can vary, with options such as polyethylene, polypropylene, polyurethane, and pebax as common choices utilized in catheter manufacturing. As a baseline, Foley catheters will be our focus, but adjustments and differences will be made again depending on the specific application.
Foley catheters are the model most catheter manufacturing will start with before adding the needed modifications. The process starts with taking a mold and pouring the selected material into the shape with the desired diameter and specs. Heat curing follows for a duration of a half hour up to forty hours until the tube is ready to be removed from the mold. At this point, an opening is created at the tube’s distal end, where after a thin latex band is slipped over the catheter tube. A balloon is made onto the catheter by taking the tube and entirely dipping it in latex creating a balloon that is bonded to both sides of the catheter. Now, there are two tubes that split out at the proximal end, one for shooting sterile water into the balloon and the other for attaching a urine bag. Foley catheters are for urinary purposes, but the type and design of catheter manufacturing can depend completely on the desired applications. The process of catheter manufacturing can be simple or complex depending on the requirements needed.
ProPlate has worked with many catheter manufacturers for electroplating purposes for radiopacity, ablation, and sensing to name a few. Our engineering team has devised specific rack plating to plate just the area needed for cost savings. We will work with your team to devise the best solution for your engineering applications.