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02-23-2012

PEEK Implant

Biocompatible and Biostable

PEEK Implant

The newly-developed AlfaPump System from SequanaMedical AG, Zug, Switzerland, helps patients suffering from excessive fluid in their abdomen: the battery-operated pump implant is based on the PEEK polymer Vestakeep from Evonik Industries AG, Marl, Germany, and has received CE approval.

It pumps the excessive fluid from the abdominal cavity into the bladder, from which it can be excreted by the patient in the natural manner. Up to now, the water has had to be drained using painful paracentesis during regular doctor’s appointments. Patients with liver disorders, congestive heart failure and certain types of cancer are particularly affected by ascites. The new system consists of a subcutaneously implanted pump and a catheter system: one catheter connects the abdomen to the pump, while the second connects the pump to the bladder.

The new technology is made possible thanks to the use of the high-performance plastic PEEK, a polyether ether ketone which is particularly characterized by its biocompatibility and biostability. In contrast to metal, the ion content of Vestakeep PEEK is virtually zero, thus preventing shift reactions with the body. Furthermore, the PEEK implant is considerably lighter than a comparable metal implant. The Vestakeep PEEK i grades are specifically suited to long-term use in the human body and can also be made transparent to X-ray on request, so that they cannot be seen on X-rays.

The high processability of PEEK is a further advantage of its use: Vestakeep PEEK polymer can be manufactured using either the injection molding or cutting procedures, thereby supporting freedom of design in the development of new implant technology.

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