• New polymeric materials for vascular surgery
  • Cortecchia, Elisa <1983>


  • MED/22 Chirurgia vascolare
  • CHIM/04 Chimica industriale


  • The dramatic impact that vascular diseases have on human life quality and expectancy nowadays is the reason why both medical and scientific communities put great effort in discovering new and effective ways to fight vascular pathologies. Among the many different treatments, endovascular surgery is a minimally-invasive technique that makes use of X-ray fluoroscopy to obtain real-time images of the patient during interventions. In this context radiopaque biomaterials, i.e. materials able to absorb X-ray radiation, play a fundamental role as they are employed both to enhance visibility of devices during interventions and to protect medical staff and patients from X-ray radiations. Organic-inorganic hybrids are materials that combine characteristics of organic polymers with those of inorganic metal oxides. These materials can be synthesized via the sol-gel process and can be easily applied as thin coatings on different kinds of substrates. Good radiopacity of organic-inorganic hybrids has been recently reported suggesting that these materials might find applications in medical fields where X-ray absorption and visibility is required. The present PhD thesis aimed at developing and characterizing new radiopaque organic-inorganic hybrid materials that can find application in the vascular surgery field as coatings for the improvement of medical devices traceability as well as for the production of X-ray shielding objects and garments. Novel organic-inorganic hybrids based on different polyesters (poly-lactic acid and poly-ε-caprolactone) and polycarbonate (poly-trimethylene carbonate) as the polymeric phase and on titanium oxide as the inorganic phase were synthesized. Study of the phase interactions in these materials allowed to demonstrate that Class II hybrids (where covalent bonds exists between the two phases) can be obtained starting from any kind of polyester or polycarbonate, without the need of polymer pre-functionalization, thanks to the occurrence of transesterification reactions operated by inorganic molecules on ester and carbonate moieties. Polyester based hybrids were successfully coated via dip coating on different kinds of textiles. Coated textiles showed improved radiopacity with respect to the plain fabric while remaining soft to the touch. The hybrid was able to coat single fibers of the yarn rather than coating the yarn as a whole. Openings between yarns were maintained and therefore fabric breathability was preserved. Such coatings are promising for the production of light-weight garments for X-ray protection of medical staff during interventional fluoroscopy, which will help preventing pathologies that stem from chronic X-ray exposure. A means to increase the protection capacity of hybrid-coated fabrics was also investigated and implemented in this thesis. By synthesizing the hybrid in the presence of a suspension of radiopaque tantalum nanoparticles, PDMS-titania hybrid materials with tunable radiopacity were developed and were successfully applied as coatings. A solution for enhancing medical device radiopacity was also successfully investigated. High metal radiopacity was associated with good mechanical and protective properties of organic-inorganic hybrids in the form of a double-layer coating. Tantalum was employed as the constituent of the first layer deposited on sample substrates by means of a sputtering technique. The second layer was composed of a hybrid whose constituents are well-known biocompatible organic and inorganic components, such as the two polymers PCL and PDMS, and titanium oxide, respectively. The metallic layer conferred to the substrate good X-ray visibility. A correlation between radiopacity and coating thickness derived during this study allows to tailor radiopacity simply by controlling the metal layer sputtering deposition time. The applied metal deposition technique also permits easy shaping of the radiopaque layer, allowing production of radiopaque markers for medical devices that can be unambiguously identified by surgeons during implantation and in subsequent radiological investigations. Synthesized PCL-titania and PDMS-titania hybrids strongly adhered to substrates and show good biocompatibility as highlighted by cytotoxicity tests. The PDMS-titania hybrid coating was also characterized by high flexibility that allows it to stand large substrate deformations without detaching nor cracking, thus being suitable for application on flexible medical devices.


  • 2011-04-19


  • Doctoral Thesis
  • PeerReviewed


  • application/pdf



Cortecchia, Elisa (2011) New polymeric materials for vascular surgery, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum UniversitĂ  di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze chirurgiche: progetto n. 1 "Metodologie di ricerca nelle malattie vascolari" , 23 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/3387.