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Development and characterization of a coronary polylactic acid stent prototype generated by selective laser melting

: Flege, C.; Vogt, F.; Höges, S.; Jauer, L.; Borinski, M.; Schulte, V.A.; Hoffmann, R.; Poprawe, R.; Meiners, W.; Jobmann, M.; Wissenbach, K.; Blindt, R.


Journal of materials science. Materials in medicine 24 (2013), Nr.1, S.241-255
ISSN: 0957-4530
ISSN: 1573-4838
Fraunhofer ILT ()
Fraunhofer IAP ()

In-stent restenosis is still an important issue and stent thrombosis is an unresolved risk after coronary intervention. Biodegradable stents would provide initial scaffolding of the stenosed segment and disappear subsequently. The additive manufacturing technology Selective Laser Melting (SLM) enables rapid, parallel, and raw material saving generation of complex 3- dimensional structures with extensive geometric freedom and is currently in use in orthopedic or dental applications. Here, SLM process parameters were adapted for poly-l-lactid acid (PLLA) and PLLA-co-poly-?-caprolactone (PCL) powders to generate degradable coronary stent prototypes. Biocompatibility of both polymers was evidenced by assessment of cell morphology and of metabolic and adhesive activity at direct and indirect contact with human coronary artery smooth muscle cells, umbilical vein endothelial cells, and endothelial progenitor cells. ?-sterilization was demonstrated to guarantee safety of SLM-processed parts. From PLLA and PCL, stent prototypes were successfully generated and post-processing by spray- and dip-coating proved to thoroughly smoothen stent surfaces. In conclusion, for the first time, biodegradable polymers and the SLM technique were combined for the manufacturing of customized biodegradable coronary artery stent prototypes. SLM is advocated for the development of biodegradable coronary PLLA and PCL stents, potentially optimized for future bifurcation applications.