Implanted medical devices like pacemakers, stents, and deep-brain stimulators save lives and promote independence and self-sufficiency among patients. Surgically installing a foreign object into a patient’s body is never to be taken lightly, but most such procedures produce nothing but positive results.
Part of the reason that is possible is that medical devices can be coated to make them safer and better suited to the biological environments for which they are destined. Among companies that do medical device coating, a deep appreciation for the importance of this type of activity is very much the norm.
Implantable Medical Device Makers Face Two Especially Imposing Challenges
The human body is equipped with many potent defenses against invasions from without. The immune system is capable of fighting off dangerous microbes and other threats, often without provoking even a bit of discomfort.
In addition to being eternally on guard against invaders, the body is also filled with chemically active areas. From the intense acids of the digestive system to the high carbonic acid levels of blood, reactivity is very much the norm.
For a medical device to be safely implanted in the body, both of these general types of issues have to be accounted for. A medical implant cannot trip the alarms of the immune system, and the device must also be able to withstand whichever chemical and physical stresses its surroundings impose on it.
Careful selection of materials for medical devices can help satisfy these requirements to an extent. In many cases, though, it will be necessary to focus more on structural and functional issues than biological and chemical ones when designing an implantable medical device.
Coating a Device to Make It Well Suited to a Difficult and Sometimes Hostile Environment
Fortunately, there are advanced coatings that can be applied to make medical devices both biologically compatible and resistant to chemical reactions. In fact, the availability of such coatings is an important reason why so many medical devices are now as safe and effective as they are.
Even a medical device that might otherwise be unusable can sometimes be rendered invaluable with the application of an appropriate coating. Results like that benefit many patients each and every year.