According to the U.S. FDA, medical implants are devices placed inside or on the surface of the body. Medical implants, or implantables as they are often called, serve many purposes including delivering medication, monitoring body conditions, and supporting organ health. Depending on the application, implants can remain in or on the body for short or long periods of time.

As expected, there are key material considerations for implantables such as biocompatibility, stability, and durability. Medical grade silicones have long been a material of choice for implantables given their range of available durometers, extreme chemical inertness and biocompatibility, and excellent tear and heat resistance. There are various applications for medical grade silicones, and below are 7 uses of implantable silicone in healthcare.

  1. Drug Delivery Implants: when it comes to drug delivery, implantables provide a great benefit to patients over conventional dosage methods. For example, implantable devices provide site specific drug administration where the drug is most needed – this targeted treatment often allows for lower doses, reducing side effects. Additionally, this form of drug dosage is less burdensome to the patient. Examples of drug delivery implantables include treatments for brain tumors, prostate cancer, and uterine fibroids with R&D focused on Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia.
  2. Cardiac Pacemakers: these implants are considered “active” implantables since they operate with a battery or other electrical supply. Cardiac pacemakers employ electrostimulation to regulate heart beat and rhythm. The electrical signals generated by the device cause the heart muscles to contract, pumping blood through the body. Today’s pacemakers are able to be remotely programmed and monitored by cardiologists, allowing for more patient-specific care.
  3. Stents: stents are a type of silicone implant that is widespread within healthcare, and are categorized as a “static” implantable since the device has no moving parts. One common example of these type of implants is a vascular stent, which is used to preserve and maintain blood flow in the heart. For drug delivery applications, the stent is implanted in the patient’s artery and slowly releases the desired drug over time to target the care exactly where it is needed.
  4. Catheters: silicone catheters function the same as devices made with any other material, and are a good option for patients that may have sensitivities such as latex allergies. There are several applications for catheters in healthcare such as cardiac catheters to drain fluids after heart procedures. Additionally, recent technology advances in catheters include an antimicrobial coating to prevent infections.
  5. Orthopedic: this form of implant is used to mechanically reinforce the spine or restore range of motion in joints such as hips and knees. Silicone is often used in implants that replace or repair diseased or otherwise impaired small joints within the body, such as hands and feet.
  6. Ear and Eye Devices: there are several kinds of silicone implantables for ear and eye applications. For the ears, cochlear implants, hearing aids, and ear plugs are the most common devices. For eyes, silicone can be used in ocular implants, intraocular lenses, and liners for prosthesis.
  7. Valves: silicone is frequently utilized in many different valves within the healthcare sector. Heart valves are often made of silicone due to its biocompatibility and longevity. There are also uses for silicone valves that are external to the body; for example, one-way valves to prevent the reverse flow of blood from a patient when connected to an IV or other means of administering medicine.

ProMed Pharma’s Capabilities

ProMed Pharma is a leading contract manufacturer of polymer-based drug releasing molded dosage forms and combination device components, such as drug-eluting products. Working with both established and early-stage medical device and pharmaceutical companies, we develop robust manufacturing processes and platforms for extended drug release from a variety of materials, including silicones and thermoplastics.

We have garnered a reputation as the world benchmark of implantable silicone components and assemblies – and are one of few companies in the world to provide contract manufacturing of drug-eluting products.

ProMed has expertise in working with the full spectrum of silicones covering a wide range of properties and characteristics – including Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR) that is an excellent option for drug-eluting medical products! We will assist in your material selection to help ensure all design requirements are met. Our manufacturing facilities and equipment are designed for a single purpose—to mold medical and implantable silicone, combination components, and bio-material grade plastics with uncompromising quality and service. We currently have four divisions that are located within two manufacturing sites. All are certified class 10,000 / ISO Class 7 cleanrooms.

Contact ProMed today at 763-331-3800 to discuss your next medical molding project.

7 Uses of Implantable Silicone in Healthcare
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7 Uses of Implantable Silicone in Healthcare
7 uses of implantable silicone in heathcare including pacemakers, stents, valves, catheters, orthopedic, ear and eye, and drug delivery devices.
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ProMed Molding
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