Facilitating Minimally Invasive Surgeries with Innovative Biomedical Textile Engineering

By Michelle Lishner, Medical Design Engineer

Minimally invasive surgical approaches have the potential to significantly improve overall patient outcomes, as well as reduce overall costs to the healthcare system. Patients undergoing minimally invasive surgery (MIS) generally report less post-surgical pain and more rapid recovery times than those treated with traditional open surgeries. The surgeons performing these MIS procedures often find them faster and easier to perform, and requiring less time in the operating room. Medical device companies have been able to bring smaller, lower profile medical devices to market that support these less invasive approaches in large part because of the incorporation of specialized biomedical textiles.

Biomedical textiles — which can be composed of a wide range of high-performance synthetic textile materials, as well as a significant quantity of metallic biomaterials – have a high degree of radial and tensile strength, and beneficial shape transformation properties. Because they are inherently compressible and flexible, they are able to be used in minimally invasive delivery applications – entering through a small hole and then expanding in the body as needed. Whether a textile is knitted, braided or woven also impacts its characteristics and the applications it is best suited for.

It’s not just smaller fibers and thinner fabrics that are driving biomedical textile innovation. The design of textile structures is advancing to incorporate new methods of customizing fabric density, pattern or fiber orientation, resulting in products that get closer to biomimicry than ever before. Properties can be isolated to localized regions of fabrics thanks to modern textile forming equipment. Raw material properties and bio textile geometry can be blended to yield properties and performance characteristics previously unimagined. This significantly reduces the risk of rejection by the body, while helping restore and preserve the patient’s targeted body function.

Through partnerships with raw material developers and biomedical textile manufacturers, medical device OEMs can design and commercialize devices across a broad range of specialties that offer lower profiles coupled with strength and other key mechanical characteristics.  Potential applications include orthopedics, cardiology, tissue engineering, sports medicine, and general surgery, for example.

Learn more about how Cortland Biomedical engineers and manufactures innovative textiles for MIS that surpass the status quo.