Platinum, Miracle Metal, Finds New Medical Applications

With every year that passes, platinum is finding more and more medical applications. Let’s explore them in today’s post.

Interventional Devices

Because platinum is biocompatible – not rejected by the human body – it is a metal of choice for cardiac and other stents that are left permanently in the body. It is also widely used in implantable defibrillators, pacemakers, and neuromonitoring devices used to control Parkinson’s and other disorders. As America’s population ages, the demand for those devices is increasing.

Physicians insert a platinum EP catheter into a blood vessel that leads to the patient’s heart. Used EP catheters can be recycled profitably for your organization by Specialty Metals.

Physicians insert a platinum EP catheter into a blood vessel that leads to the patient’s heart. Used EP catheters can be recycled profitably for your organization by Specialty Metals.

Orthopedic Devices

Because of its biocompatibility and ability to be formed into a variety of shapes that range from plates to wires to large components, platinum and platinum alloys are metals of choice for implantable devices that include hip and knee implants, plates and screws that are used to stabilize broken bones, and devices that are used to stabilize or support the spine.

Surgical and Testing Applications

Platinum is an excellent conductor of electricity too, making it a first choice for equipment that is used to test cardiac functions. Platinum is also used in wires and catheters that are used to monitor arthroscopic, ophthalmic, and other surgical procedures.

Cancer Medicines

And here’s a surprise. Over the last 50 years, a number of platinum-based medicines have been developed to fight ovarian, testicular and other cancers. One such medicine, Cisplatin, has been in use since 1977. Another cancer drug, Satraplatin, is being evaluated for treatment of prostate cancer. These medications work because platinum inhibits cell division, so cancerous cells can be stopped from reproducing as aggressively.

Demand for Platinum to Remain High

The strong demand for platinum in healthcare applications, coupled with its relative rarity in nature, means that the demand for your recyclable platinum will stay strong. If you would like to know more about using our refining services to unlock the dollar value that is hidden in platinum recyclables, call us at 800-426-2344.

Related Posts:

New Medical Technologies Spur a Boom in Platinum Use
Why It Pays to Recycle Electrophysiology (EP) Catheters
Recycling and Refining: The Profitable Way to Dispose of Used Laboratory Equipment
Snip the Tips to Make Surprising Money from Recyclables
Why Smart Veterinarians are Recycling the Platinum from their Testing Supplies

Recycling Opportunity - More Medical Equipment Is Getting Scrapped than Ever Before

A revolution is taking place in medical technology, with new equipment and new technologies being introduced weekly. If you’d like to get a quick glimpse of what’s taking place, spend a few minutes scrolling through the entries on MedGadget.com. There, you’ll find announcements of hundreds of new medical products and technologies that are coming to market.

Here’s a sample . . .

Photo of lab testing equipment, which contains precious metals like platinum, silver and gold that can be profitably recycled and refined by Specialty Metals when no longer needed
  • Intuitive Surgical just introduced a new version of its Da Vinci surgical machine that will allow a wider range of operations to be performed robotically.
  • Withings has developed a new blood pressure monitoring cuff that sends its readings wirelessly to iPhones and Android devices.
  • Toshiba is launching a compact ultrasound machine that can roll into tighter spaces in hospital rooms.
  • Biotronic makes a new pacemaker that wirelessly sends electrograms to cardiologists.
  • Scientists are developing biodegradable batteries that will dissolve after they have powered devices that are implanted in the body.

And would you believe, all those things were announced on MedGadget.com in just that last 10 days?

Every New Piece of Equipment Makes an Older One Obsolete

The result of all that change is that over time, a lot of older pieces of medical equipment are becoming obsolete. As improved implantable defibrillators come to market, for example, older models get returned to their manufacturers for recycling. As new ultrasound and medical imaging systems come into widespread use, older equipment is no longer needed. Some of it gets put into containers and sent to countries where it is needed. Some of it gets scrapped. And some of it contains valuable quantities of platinum, silver, gold and other precious metals.

Do you work in a hospital, radiology center, or another facility where older equipment is about to become obsolete? If so, that equipment could contain quantities of gold that are worth recycling. Or do you work in a testing center where your stocks of unused cardiac catheters are no longer needed? If so, what will become of the precious metals that they contain? Even the sensor tips of electrophysiology (EP) catheters contain platinum that can be profitably recycled.

If you own older medical equipment or supplies and don’t know about what they are worth, we’re here to help you. Call Specialty Metals at 800-426-2344, tell us what you have, and we’ll be pleased to explain the profit potential for recycling your used laboratory equipment.

Related Posts:

New Medical Technologies Spur a Boom in Platinum Use
Why It Pays to Recycle Electrophysiology (EP) Catheters
Why It Pays to Recycle Silver in Old X-Ray Films and Supplies
Bright Shiny Platinum Could Be Hiding in Your Dented and Dirty Old Labware

 

 

New Medical Technologies Spur a Boom in Platinum Use – and Platinum Recycling

Only a few decades ago, platinum was a “rare” metal in many senses of the word. It was relatively rare in nature and rare in manufactured items too.

Today, platinum is being used in a wider range of products and technologies – especially in medical products. One of the greatest growth areas? A marked increase in the use of implantable cardiac defibrillators, which provide wonderful benefits for patients who were once prone to sudden cardiac death due to ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia.

In the past, individuals who were at risk of death from those problems had to be rushed to hospitals to receive treatment with defibrillators (“paddles”) when periods of fibrillation occurred. Others had to remain close to large defibrillators that they kept in their homes. But thanks to the availability of implantable defibrillators, those patients can now enjoy full lives. Because small defibrillators have been implanted in their chests, they are free to go where they choose. If irregular heartbeats strike, the small devices they are wearing snap into action and provide small electrical pulses directly to their hearts that save their lives.

A normal chest X-ray after placement of an ICD, showing the ICD generator in the upper left chest and the ICD lead in the right ventricle of the heart. Note the 2 opaque coils along the ICD lead. Image Credit: Gregory Marcus, MD, MAS, FACC

A normal chest X-ray after placement of an ICD, showing the ICD generator in the upper left chest and the ICD lead in the right ventricle of the heart. Note the 2 opaque coils along the ICD lead. Image Credit: Gregory Marcus, MD, MAS, FACC

New kinds of implantable defibrillators are being developed all the time, but the most common consists of a small device that is implanted under the skin, often near the patient’s collarbone. Small wires made of platinum or other precious metals run from the device directly to the right ventricle of the patient’s heart.

What is the useful life of these devices? That is a difficult question to answer. Some cardiologists and their patients favor replacing older implantable defibrillators when newer, more advanced models become available. Sometimes the devices fail to function properly and need to be replaced in the early months or years of their use. Because of those variables, the service life of an implantable defibrillator can be as short as a few months, or as long as five years or more.

What Happens to Decommissioned Defibrillator Devices?

Removal or replacement of implantable defibrillators is a surgical procedure that is performed in a hospital. Often, used devices are returned to their manufacturers for proper recycling and/or reclamation of the platinum or other precious metals that they contain.

Opportunities exist for recycling the valuable metals that implantable defibrillators contain. For example, manufacturers of the devices can own quantities of platinum wire that were not needed in the manufacturing process, or they could end up owning quantities of older wire that does not meet the specifications needed in their newer products. Even physicians and hospitals can end up with quantities of wire that were not used when defibrillators were implanted, or with catheters or wires that were not selected for use during implanting procedures.

If you fall into one of those categories, you might want to be aware that your unused stock of platinum can be valuable, and well worth recycling. Remember, the platinum that you have on hand could potentially be reused in the manufacture of new medical devices that can save patients’ lives.

Call Specialty Metals at 800-426-2344 and we can help you design a detailed recycling process that let’s you reclaim that platinum, improve your bottom line and maybe even save some lives down the road.