Embolization Therapy Microspheres

Making uniformity exciting.

The Challenge:  

This client needed a custom embolization demonstration model for sales demos, clinical training, patient education, and tradeshows. Embolization is a minimally invasive treatment that blocks one or more blood vessels or abnormal vascular channels, preventing blood flow to certain areas. Our client’s key differentiator is that their precisely calibrated microspheres allow for controlled embolization. Essentially, their embolic microspheres are more uniform in size. This seemed like an unexciting differentiator at first. But, we learned from our client that uniformity is a big deal. Once Pulse MDM understood the merits of microsphere uniformity, we saw the project’s creative potential, and we were super excited to help communicate our new understanding to our client’s mission. 

 

Model Design:  

A batch of microspheres is like links in a chain; the chain is only as strong as the weakest link. The depth that microspheres can reach is limited by the largest sphere. Once the largest sphere reaches the part of the vessel that is the same diameter, it blocks all the other spheres from traveling further into the vessel. Pulse MDM designed an “ant farm” type of model that includes a shallow cavity behind a clear window. Inside, we planned to include scaled-up irregular plastic spheres on one side and uniform scaled-up plastic spheres on the other.  When the model is inverted, clients can see the uniform spheres cascade down to the smallest diameter vessels, while the irregular spheres can only travel as far as the largest one that is stuck. Our clients’ embolic spheres are indicated for several clinical areas, so we selected a vague anatomical image to represent vasculature in any organ.   

 

Model Development:  

After 35 years of product development experience, we know projects often don’t go as planned. These potential issues we account for never end up being the problems we actually face, and this project was no different. We laid out the vessel profiles, cut them in acrylic, added the plastic spheres, and did our testing. The model worked exactly as planned, and our Pulse team could not wait for the clients to see it.  Alas, they called to inform us that the plastic balls were not traveling to the bottom on either side. We could not understand why the model would work for us, but not for them. Can an inanimate object experience stage fright? Finally, we discovered that during shipping, the spheres rubbed together causing static electricity to stop them from moving as expected.  We solved the problem by switching spheres materials. As a final touch, we made the back layer using translucent red acrylic to provide light and drama.   

 

Model Solution:  

With this new model design, sales reps can use the model to tell the story that their microspheres are the only ones that can state “precise calibration”. It shows the benefits clinicians can experience: 

  • There is more product in our client’s syringe than a competitor’s syringe  
  • There is deeper penetration to the target area 
  • There is 100% more uniform distribution 
  • There is an even coverage with the super-selective embolization procedure 

 

Our clients struggled to get physicians to see a problem with their current products. Embolics are generally perceived as a commodity, so they needed to show them that the current lower-cost, non-calibrated solution was not smart. It had harsh clinical drawbacks. Our model clearly shows this key differentiator. Physicians can easily see the incomplete stasis and premature occlusion on the competitor’s side with non-calibrated beads. The model exhibits the flow of precision embolic and tells the story of how precisely calibrated beads will allow for a more homogenous, uniform distribution. Although this is a simpler model, our team at Pulse MDM made sure to include the drama of that “Ah Ha” moment.    

 

Procedure Overview:

Embolization spheres, also known as embolic microspheres or microbeads, are tiny spherical devices used in medical procedures to block or reduce blood flow to specific areas of the body. These spheres are typically made from biocompatible materials such as acrylic, gelatin, or other polymers. The primary purpose of embolic spheres is to induce embolization, a medical technique that involves blocking blood vessels to treat various conditions. By strategically placing embolic spheres in blood vessels, healthcare professionals can obstruct blood flow, leading to the desired therapeutic effect. Embolization spheres come in different sizes, allowing for precise customization based on the specific medical application. Physicians may choose the appropriate size of embolic spheres to match the diameter of the blood vessels they intend to target. This level of precision ensures optimal results while minimizing the impact on surrounding tissues. 

 

Applications of embolic spheres include the treatment of vascular malformations, liver tumors, uterine fibroids, and other conditions that block blood flow and can be therapeutically beneficial. Compared to traditional surgical methods, the use of embolic spheres in these procedures often results in reduced bleeding, tumor shrinkage, and improved patient outcomes. 

 

Although this custom model is not available for sale to the public, we are delighted to make you a version that is specific to your unique medical device and procedure. Please use this link to start the process of receiving a model concept; a visual representation of how clinicians and patients will experience your product and procedure. Pulse MDM does not charge for model concepts or the conversations around them so there is no risk to see how we can help you to tell your story in the most engaging and memorable way possible.