It’s not uncommon to see plastics revolutionising a number of different industries, but one sector where plastic innovation has made huge developments is within the medical industry.
Thanks to plastic, new equipment and medical storage solutions have been created, extraordinary treatments have evolved, and lives have been saved.
Here are some of the most notable plastic innovations in the medical industry.
Surgical gloves, syringes, IV tubes and insulin pens are all created from plastic, proving how much the medical industry relies on plastics and their various uses.
Plastics allow for the creation of a lot of the single use pieces of equipment to enhance the sterility of these objects due to them never encountering another person, eliminating the spread of dangerous diseases by reducing the need to reuse devices.
The future of plastics and sterility is the creation of antimicrobial touch surfaces that can repel bacteria and other microbes, again helping reduce the spread of dangerous and harmful diseases. The high effectiveness of anti-microbial plastic in medicine is essential – the surfaces are able to repel pathogens even without regular cleaning.
Safety, Packaging and Disposal
From simple pieces of equipment like waste disposal bags and disposable gloves the safety perspective is emphasized and improved upon thanks to plastics.
However, this innovation goes further, with the production of equipment such as anti-tamper bags having a huge positive impact on safety.
Plastics can also be used to preserve the effectiveness and safety of other materials, such as forming a non-permeable coating on biohazard bags when transporting medical waste.
Prosthetics and 3D Printing
Although 3D printed human body parts aren’t quite perfected yet, they’re close. Kidneys, skin, cartilage – all of these and more are being worked on by researchers to eventually be printed to use in reality – not just in complex surgery practice like they currently are.
It can be said, however, that the advancements we have seen in terms of prosthetics could not have been apparent without plastics.
The properties of some plastics mirror that of the flexibility and sensitivity of human skin, and plastic muscles can also be used to replicate mobility in the limb.
Not many people would be ones to say they enjoy injections. They’re painful and often leave our arms numb for quite some time after.
Easier ways to deliver injections are on the way thanks to microneedle patches. This is a patch of plastic microneedles that dissolve once under the skin, releasing the drugs into the system as this happens.
This all takes place in a matter of seconds and is a great piece of equipment to implement especially for younger children.
While only a temporary measure, plastic hearts can prolong the life of those needing heart transplants until a donor is found.
The long-term durability of the plastic has a high fatigue resistance to help ensure a patient’s health and safety until a donor heart is available.
This is especially useful for those who have had their bodies reject an organic heart in the past – a patient’s body will not reject the plastic organ, preventing further damage.
These plastic hearts have the two ventricles and four heart valves that pump blood through the body and are present in an organic heart.
A new use of plastic in the medical industry is in the use of foam polyurethane plastic. Serious internal injuries suffered by trauma patients can be saved by ResQFoam.
This self-expanding plastic is injected into the body, expanding when in the body cavity and preventing blood loss and applying pressure to the wound without physical help or intervention.
This is still in trial stage, but with this innovative plastic, trauma and emergency survival rates could increase dramatically.
The benefits that plastics have bought to the medical industry are revolutionary and immense, and there’s only room for more improvement and more lives to be saved.
If you require any more information about how plastics could benefit your industry, get in touch with us at Rayda today.