OPTIMA Release A New Grade of PEEK for Biomedical Applications

Invibio®, a leading provider of biomaterial solutions to the medical device market, has introduced an image contrast grade of its highly successful PEEK-OPTIMA® polymer. The new image contrast grade offers the superior mechanical, physical and biocompatible properties of unfilled PEEK-OPTIMA polymer with the added advantage of tailored opacity, enabling medical device manufacturers to develop implants that can be observed more clearly with X-ray and CT imaging modalities while remaining compatible with MRI. Traditional metallic implant materials will generate imaging artifacts and scatter, preventing a comprehensive inspection of the tissue and bone surrounding the implant.

Unlike metals, the image contrast grade of PEEK-OPTIMA polymer provides medical device manufacturers the flexibility to tailor the radiographic, CT and MRI visibility of an implant to suit a particular application. This is important because different medical implants may require different levels of visibility to confirm implant placement and monitor the progression of healing. Now it is possible for device manufacturers to achieve an appropriate balance of implant and tissue visualization without image artifacts or scatter.

"In the past, medical OEMs have been limited with regard to the imaging properties of certain biomaterials," said Michael Callahan, president of Invibio. "Now these companies have more control over implant opacity and can develop implants that will simplify the post-operative inspection process."

Invibio's new image contrast grade leverages the superior qualities of the company's PEEK-OPTIMA polymer. As a result, medical devices can be produced from the new grade in a variety of ways, such as injection molding, extrusion or machining, allowing for broad design and manufacturing flexibility. They can also be repeatedly sterilized using conventional methods including steam, gamma irradiation and ethylene oxide processes without adversely affecting mechanical properties or biocompatibility.

The image contrast grade of PEEK-OPTIMA polymer is intended for implantable medical and pharmaceutical devices and applications requiring blood, bone or tissue contact of more than 30 days. The material is currently being used or considered in the development of spinal spacers, small joint prosthesis and ligament fixation devices. It could be used in any medical market, including the orthopedic, spinal and dental markets.

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