Category Archives: Medical

Backed by an experienced team and a premier medical advisory board, CoNextions Medical looks to innovate soft tissue tendon repair. In an effort to find a manufacturing solution that allows for improved performance without inflated cost, Liquidmetal technology came to light.

Editable vector illustration of a surgiery in an operating theater

Traditional suture-based tendon repair often leads to long recovery times, complications, and high costs for the patient. In many ways suture-based tendon repair procedures have reached practical limits, opening the door for new procedures to enter. CoNextions has designed a device with the intention of overcoming these problems, resulting in improved post-operative condition and quality of life for the patient, along with improved health economics. Testing shows the new, less invasive procedure results in decreased tendon trauma, increased repair strength, greater ease of use for medical staff and more.

With a host of procedures covering a wide range of physical demands, minimally invasive medical devices are produced by the millions every year. Common procedures include: Aortic valve surgery, appendectomies, biopsy tumors, and arthroscopy of most joints. Many devices or the components they are composed of contain parts that are currently CNC machined, injection molded, investment cast, stamped, or fine blanked. Liquidmetal technology is often a good alternative to these expensive, time-consuming processes.

Liquidmetal alloys’ strongest asset is likely its incredible precision and repeatability. When it comes to surgery on the human body, every patient and doctor demands the highest level of precision and accuracy from the equipment used. Liquidmetal alloys offer precision in relatively uncharted territory with part-to-part variation at 0.0003-0.0006” and dimensional tolerances at 0.0005- 0.0015”. CNC machining generally can achieve part-to-part variation of 0.0005-0.0010” and dimensional tolerances of 0.0007-0.0015”.

Group of dedicated surgeons and doctors working as a team during surgery - Copyspace

Durability is a critical factor in all medical equipment, but especially components that are expected to perform with high precision in harsh environments. Liquidmetal alloys’ strength, hardness, and corrosion resistance perform equally or better than commonly used materials like 17-4PH, 316L and 420 stainless steels.

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We are very pleased to present the results from our first round of ISO 10993 testing for our latest commercial alloy, LM105. ISO 10993 is a set of standards used for evaluating the biocompatibility of a medical device prior to clinical studies. Since several biomedical device companies have shown interest in Liquidmetal® alloys, we thought it would be beneficial to get a jumpstart on pre-screening the alloy for its potential use in biomedical applications. Of course, each biomedical device must undergo its own ISO certifications to account for its specific processing methods, but this set of tests serves to give potential customers confidence that LM105, our beryllium-free commercially available Zr-based amorphous metal alloy, is highly promising as a biomedical device material.

Surgical stapling procedures have been in practice for over 100 years. Hungarian physician Dr. Humor Hultl is credited as the first surgeon to utilize stapling on a patient. Various stapling devices have been developed over the years, but the basic concept is unchanged and relies heavily on anvils with “precisely shaped pockets” to produce well-formed and secure staples. Typical surgical staples utilize stainless steel and titanium alloys which fire with controlled force sometimes excising and joining tissues simultaneously.

One of the prototypes that we have produced recently is moving closer to production. The prototype showcases the extraordinary elastic properties of Liquidmetal as a clamp. To protect customer confidentiality, we have disguised the geometry but are reporting actual results. We hope these will be of interest to other existing and potential customers.

In the first prototypes, two clamp spring designs were evaluated. A comparable steel solution would be expected to lose efficacy within 100 cycles, as the steel would yield and the clamp force would decrease. For this prototype design, a goal of at least 200 cycles without a decrease in the clamp force was specified. The clamp needed to be opened to create a gap close to the diameter of the circular clamp when closed (about 12mm).

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is widely used for imaging soft tissue in clinical and pre-clinical medicine for many reasons. Not only does MRI provide excellent contrast between various tissue types, but it does not require the use of ionizing radiation such as x-rays (CT Scanners) or gamma-rays (PET scanners). The theory of MRI is based on the interaction of subatomic particles with magnetic fields in a process called nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), which describes how atomic nuclei with a quantum property called ‘spin’ precess in a magnetic field the same way that a gyroscope or a spinning-top precesses in the earth’s gravitational field (if you’re not familiar with gyroscope precession, watch this video).

For this reason, the primary component of an MRI scanner is a very powerful magnet, which generates a very strong magnetic field (typically 1.5-3 Tesla, or about 3,000 times the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field) where the object is being imaged, and also in the region surrounding the magnet.