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World’s Longest Balloon Shortens Surgery Time


World's Longest Balloon Shortens Surgery Time
Stephanie Steward

Using extra-long catheter balloons can reduce the number of steps in surgical procedures, thereby reducing risk to patients.
In recent years, existing technology has been able to produce balloons up to 180 mm in length for various angioplasty applications. But customers have been asking companies such as Precision Extrusion Inc. for 240-mm balloons that can reduce the number of steps in surgical procedures on long arteries. Working in conjunction with Wexford, Ireland–based Advanced Balloon Technologies Medical, a small start-up company of experienced extrusion engineers, Precision Extrusion can now offer balloons up to 340 mm long. Calling it the world’s longest balloon, the company sees this product and its manufacturing capability as a significant step forward in creating balloons that help reduce risks to patients.

For such procedures as below-the-knee (BTK) angioplasty, balloons of 180 mm or less have to be deflated and inflated multiple times in order to cover a long leg artery. Dilating the artery for each inflation is not only time-consuming but also can be harmful to the patient. “There’s less damage to the blood with one dilation,” explains Precision Extrusion president Mike Badera. “A longer balloon is more efficient for the doctor and the patient [because] a balloon that is 240 mm or longer can do a leg artery in one step.”

To create the equipment to make the balloon, the companies’ engineers stripped down existing extrusion processes and tried to take a fresh approach to the technology without repeating other people’s mistakes, according to Badera. The result was a more-efficient machine that reduces blow cycle times and loads the tubing in a manner that allows for heating the balloon to achieve a uniform blow, despite the increased length. By building the more-efficient machine from scratch, the engineers were able to create the 340-mm balloon with a double-wall thickness of 0.0014 in. and a burst strength greater than 17 atm.

In addition to BTK balloons, the company can use its new technology to extrude tubing and balloons for rapid prototyping of products for neural, renal, gastric, kyphoplasty, and percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty applications. Diameters from 0.5 to 20 mm and lengths ranging from 5 to 340 mm can be achieved in multiple configurations and materials, including nylon, PET, and polyurethane.

Precision Extrusion Inc.
Glens Falls, NY

Copyright ©2009 Medical Product Manufacturing News
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