Radiopacity is an essential property for most stents. Visibility of the stent, using angiographic or radiographic imaging, is critical for accurate stent placement and stent expansion. Stent visibility is also crucial for follow-ups and retreatment. Vizi-Band® is a innovative solution to improve radiopacity in medical devices and be a cost saving alternative to traditional Radiopaque Marker Bands.
Radiopaque Marker Bands
A majority of metal stents are made out of Nickel-Titanium, also known as Nitinol, Cobalt-Chromium, or Stainless Steel, all of which have limited radiopacity. Increasing the stents’ thickness increases visibility; however, doing so would significantly impact essential features stents require, such as flexibility. Due to the limitations of stent thickness, radiopaque markers are attached to specified locations on stents to increase visibility during imaging. Radiopaque marker band materials are formed using precious metals such as Gold, Platinum, and Tantalum.
The increase in radiopacity of stents using these marker bands is a great benefit; however, stent mechanical properties can be at risk. Attachment of radiopaque marker bands may cause corrosion between the stent and the marker band if appropriate alloys are not used to manufacture the marker band or stent. Detachment of marker bands from the stent is also a risk associated with radiopaque markers. The risk is associated with the attachment method used. Methods such as crimping, braiding, extrusion, knotting, and laser micro-welding, are used for marker band attachment. Each has been tested and proven effective, with individual risks and benefits. Regardless of the attachment technique used, there is still a risk of marker band dislodgment for each method. The risk of dislodgment is due to the marker band and stent being two separate entities.
A set of studies were conducted to achieve improved or alternative techniques to radiopaque markings. Professional Plating, Inc., also known as ProPlate®, achieved a comparable radiopacity technique to traditional markers through these studies. ProPlate® developed Vizi-Band®, a highly radiopaque and biocompatible metal coating technique that can be selectively applied to any desired component area, with endless design and brightness customization options.
Vizi-Band® is a proprietary metal coating process that atomically bonds directly to the desired location on the stent. It is a replacement for traditional marker bands with performance and cost advantages. As aforementioned above, traditional marker bands are separate entities that are attached to specific locations of the stent, with the potential risk of dislodgment. With Vizi-Band®, the risk of dislodgment is eliminated due to the markers being atomically bonded to the stent.
Vizi-Band® marker coating can be applied not only to stents but also to catheters, guide wires, hypo tubes, and other similar components. The process involves custom tooling and masking to ensure consistent and accurate positioning of the marker coating. This innovative process allows manufacturers to reduce the labor component of handling and attaching traditional marker bands and reduce the cost of machining them from solid Gold or other precious metals. Replacing traditional marker bands with Vizi-Band® marker coating significantly enhances distal tip flexibility and improves application performance by reducing the catheter profile.