Why are plastics essential in medicine?

Plastics have had a revolutionary impact on the medical industry, making procedures simpler and safer. They have been a contributing factor in reduced medical costs, a reduction in infectious diseases and have improved forms of pain management.

Sterility

Plastics completely revolutionised this aspect of medicine allowing practitioners to have sterilised equipment quickly and easily. Plastics allow for “one-time use” products, they are completely sterile and can be thrown away once used. These include: surgical gloves, syringes, insulin pens and IV tubes.

Plastics not only help in the sterilisation of equipment but also the surfaces of a medical practise. Plastic is very easy to clean and sterilise as well as providing the durability and sturdiness that is needed for a surface.

Antimicrobial plastic was innovated, and is now used as a medical surface, to be highly effective in killing bacteria on the surface as well as eliminating pathogens – this can even work when the surfaces haven’t been cleaned in a while. This makes this material incredibly valuable in medical practises.

Safety at Home

Plastics have not only been innovated to benefit professional medical practises, they also benefit your daily life at home. The use of plastics in the medical industry has increased the child safety for all over the counter medical products.

Decades ago, tamper proof caps did not exist on medicine bottles and containers. However, thanks to plastic innovations, almost every medical container now has a tamper proof cap, which can stop children getting into medical containers. This has helped to improve child safety by keeping the potentially toxic contents of these containers out of their hands.

Patient Comfort

Historically, metal and metallic devices have been used throughout medicine especially in the field of prosthetics. This caused issues for many patients, from discomfort to not being unable to have the full procedure needed, due to metal allergies.

The use of plastics in the prosthetics field has allowed practitioners to create a highly durable and versatile product that can be used for all patients. People who are allergic to metals or metallic materials are now able to have these operations using hypo-allergenic plastics, leaving them to live a longer and hopefully pain free life.

Safety

Plastics have improved the safety of the whole medical industry from the packaging to the operation room. Preserving the medical products is important for all establishments from the medication to the blood sent for testing – it all needs to be secure and safe. Using plastics for these containers provides the flexibility for all containers like the ease of blister packs for medication or the secure and sterilised packing used to transport blood – plastic is used for all of these.

Protective plastic coatings can be used to stop any cross contamination of equipment or products.

Plastics are also a crucial part in the safety of the medical practitioners in any establishment, one of the key examples of this is the MRI Scanner. This crucial piece of equipment uses magnets and can cause metals in the vicinity to move at dangerous speeds – as massive health and safety risk for those in the room. Today, all the equipment that is surrounding an MRI is manufactured out of plastic to prevent this the magnetic force of the MRI machine causing this issue. Even tools used to install the machine are made from plastic.

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