Enhancing Balloon Devices Medical Devices That Save Lives

in Mar 30, 2021

Enhancing Balloon Devices

Medical Devices That Save Lives

Medical balloon devices come in many different forms including, microcatheters and catheters, endotracheal and gastrostomy tubes, laparoscopes, and more. These devices are usually a long tube with a balloon attached to it. If you think of how a snake is designed, the head would be the balloon part that would be slightly larger, once inflated and the tail would be the end of the device that usually sticks out of the patient. This balloon can inflate and deflate in vivo (inside) of a patient. Dr. Thomas J. “Tom” Fogarty is an American surgeon and medical device inventor. In 1961, he the invented the first medical balloon device called the embolectomy catheter which revolutionized the treatment of blood clots.1


The main types of balloon devices are:


  •                Non-compliant (high-pressure) balloons made of polyester or nylon for expanding to a specified diameter and exert high pressure.


  •                Semi-compliant balloons made of Pebax or higher-durometer polyurethanes for applications needing mid-high pressures, but better compliance and flexibility.


  •                Compliant (elastomeric) balloons made of polyurethane or silicone that are inflated by volume, rather than pressure and should be able to stretch many times their original size, and often used in applications that require full conformity to or occlude the anatomy.


Most devices on the market are balloon catheters and are typically used to open an arterial pathway as seen here.​​​​​ on the right. This procedure called an angioplasty is used to open a ​​​​​​collapsed artery, clear a blockage caused by plaque or a buildup, to insert a stent into place, and more. This lifesaving, minimally invasive, procedure can also help people avoid strokes, regain blood flow to limbs preventing amputations, or even cut off oxygen to a tumor, while eluting chemotherapy drugs, making what once was a very intrusive procedure, where the surgeon must cut through all the layers of skin, muscle, and fat to remove the tumor through extraction. Endotracheal tubes are another well-known device that is known to the balloon family. These are used to deliver oxygen to the lungs when patients cannot breathe on their own. The tube goes down into the mouth and through the trach or the “windpipe”. Then the balloon is inflated securing it on place, so that it does not work its way back up and out of the patient as seen here on the left.

Hydromer® At Your Service

While these devices may seem simple, they are some of the most complex devices on the market. Due to the multi-substrate components, they are highly sophisticated and require an advanced coating strategy. The tube and balloon must be coated uniformly, to keep the integrity of the device. Hydromer®, as the experts in medical hydrophilic coatings and services, has over 40 years of experience with these types of complex devices. Our friction testing backs our data as seen here.

Also, our own founder back in the very early 70’s, invented one of the world’s first hydrophilic coatings for his own feeding tube. This smaller tube and lubricious coating allowed it to effortlessly go into the body without force or friction, causing less tear to the esophagus and easier execution of placement. We have coated devices like these for many years successfully, so why not let us coat your medical balloon and other devices?

Let our technologies empower yours™



Cite Sources

1. “Thomas J. Fogarty.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 13 Dec. 2020, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_J._Fogarty.