|Diagram of a one-step laser sintering process conducted on the surface of a stent.|
The Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH; Hannover, Germany) plans on using laser sintering to improve the surface of microimplants. Its goal is to produce a porous structure on the surfaces of various types of implants, including stents used in the circulatory system and devices used in in the eyes, throat, nose, or ears. A surface containing porous structures can improve the implant's attachment to the surrounding tissue and enable it to dispense medication.
Because of their small surface area, it is difficult to integrate tiny implants into the surrounding tissue. The new method is geared toward promoting this integration. In addition, such implant surfaces offer little room for dispensing medications, which can promote acceptance of the implant in the body or prevent infections.
"Laser sintering can be used to modify the implant surface in a very specific manner," explains Matthias Gieseke, an engineer at LZH. "We hope to make the optimal structure for a number of applications."