The fiber is thinner than the head of a needleIn February, DSM announced that it was expanding its Dyneema Purity fiber portfolio with the commercial launch of the thinnest, high-strength, medical-grade ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) fiber on the market - Dyneema Purity 10 dtex fiber. Dyneema Purity 10 dtex fiber, which is four times stronger than polyester and thinner than a human hair, has many benefits including its resistance to fatigue and abrasion, considerable processing capabilities, and multiple medical device applications, all benefiting both surgeons and patients.

DSM’s Dyneema Purity 10 dtex fiber, which is manufactured exclusively at DSM’s Greenville, NC USA facility, can be braided, woven and knitted, allowing for flexible design of constructions. In addition, the UHMWPE fiber, available in both white and blue, boasts a low profile, making it easier for use in the design of smaller implants for minimally invasive surgery. Minimally invasive surgical procedures typically result in less discomfort, less time in the hospital and faster recovery times for patients. Therefore, medical device makers look for materials that enable the production and design of devices with smaller profiles. Dyneema Purity 10 dtex fiber’s finer denier promotes the design of smaller devices without compromising strength and durability.

Meeting the demands of miniaturization of medical devices is very important for engineers. In 2012, the global minimally invasive surgery market was valued at approximately $25 billion and is expected to grow to a CAGR of 10.5% during the forecast period 2013 to 2019 to reach a market value of over $50 billion.1

The initial application of the material is in cardiovascular structures, which will enable surgeons to reach new patient groups with smaller or blocked veins and arteries. Other application focus areas include transcatheter heart valves (TAVI/TAVR systems) and Abdominal and Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm stent grafts. Textile structures made from UHMWPE fiber are an important component of heart-valve replacement devices because they can promote tissue ingrowth, provide anchoring and attachment of the implant and prevent paravalvular leakage.

In neurovascular applications, textiles have shape-memory properties, which enable bending or folding during delivery through a tight space, followed by expansion once implanted in the body. There is also a growing field in the creation of very small devices delivered through micro-catheters. The challenge with these devices is to develop flexible textiles that can handle a low-profile delivery but are not compromised on strength, which is exactly where Dyneema Purity 10 dtex fiber presents an advantage.

In order for textile-based micro-devices to meet the requirements for new treatments in the vascular device field, they must be constructed with small yet strong biocompatible fibers. This maximizes performance within a confined space and offers a high safety profile for the implant. As a result, device designers and textile manufacturers are being increasingly challenged to push new limits in material selection. With growing market availability for Dyneema Purity 10 dtex fiber, medical device manufacturers are now able to create products that align with the future of smaller and stronger minimally invasive devices.

1 Minimally invasive surgery market is expected to reach USD 50.60 billion globally in 2019: Transparency Market Research. (2014, January 6).