Implantable-Grade Fiber Comes in Colors Everywhere

Author: 
Bob Michaels
DSM Dyneema’s medical-grade UHMWPE fiber can be used to manufacture colored surgical sutures.

Until now, doctors have been hamstrung by the lack of contrast between different sutures used to repair damaged joints during arthroscopic surgery. But help is on the way. DSM Dyneema has developed a 100% UHMWPE fiber available in different colors that can be used to develop high-strength sutures. The advantage of this fiber is that it enables doctors to differentiate among multiple sutures on multiple anchors—the screws placed in the bone during surgery to position the implant.

Prior to the availability of this colored fiber, UHMWPE fiber was offered in white only—the highest-purity grade of the material. To differentiate among sutures, surgeons had to mix the standard white suture material with strands of colored fibers that were not made from 100% UHMWPE. Only within the last year did the FDA approve a pigment that can be added to UHMWPE before extrusion.

“Dyneema Purity Blue does not use colored polyester or nylon strands in its construction, which means it can offer surgeons color variety with the characteristics of UHMPWE,” remarks Felice Szeto-Wong, value-chain marketing manager, medical, at DSM Dyneema. “Several different patterns of braid can be developed, offering surgeons bright contrast among the different sutures, including various white-blue combinations and solid blue.”

Offering a low profile, softness, and abrasion resistance, Dyneema Purity Blue is 15 times stronger than quality steel, Szeto-Wong says. In addition, the fiber’s elongation and fatigue resistance offer surgeons and medical device manufacturers an alternative to traditional materials such as polyester. Exhibiting good local tolerance according to ISO 10993-06 standards, the fiber has lower irritation and inflammatory levels than other implantable materials and has the same biocompatibility as the company’s Dyneema Purity, according to Szeto-Wong.

“We are offering the blue UHMWPE material to give surgeons better contrast during the procedure itself,” Szeto-Wong comments. “Using this material, surgeons gain more confidence and experience less confusion when tying sutures to their respective anchors.” By achieving better visibility, surgeons can accelerate procedure times, reduce the room for error, and increase OR turnaround times. A by-product of using this material is that patients benefit as well, Szeto-Wong states. “Ultimately, by improving visibility during surgery, surgeons perform better operations and also reduce surgical costs,”
she adds.

DSM Dyneema
Stanley, NC
www.medical.dyneema.com