The Many Uses Of Plastic In: The Medical Industry

December 23, 2016

The Many Uses Of Plastic In: The Medical Industry

Plastic is one of the most widely used materials on the face of the planet. We’ve used our tried and tested roto-moulding process to create tailor-made plastic products for companies in industries. The medical field is one such industry, enjoying a whole host of major advantages that only plastic can provide.

Why choose plastic?

One of the biggest benefits of plastic in the medical industry is its inherent sterility and resistance to infection. Hygiene is important in any industry, but especially in medicine, where even minor infections could potentially be the difference between life and death. Doctors, nurses and other hospital staff go to great lengths to maintain a ‘sterile field’ – an area completely free of any uncontrolled spores or microorganisms. Breach of the sterile field is always taken extremely seriously, and so keeping the area germ-free is crucial to treating patients successfully.

This is where plastic comes in. Most disposable medical items use plastic as a core component, and its usage has been credited with vastly lowering rates of infection and cross-contamination. Surgical examination gloves are an excellent example of this, but far from the only one – the list also includes bedpans, insulin pens, IV tubes, inhalation masks, tube fittings, and eye patches (it’s a very long list).

Plastic has also improved safety in even more direct ways; most childproof caps and containers use plastic as one of their chief components. Even something as minor as aspirin, if taken in uncontrolled amounts, can have seriously damaging effects on health; so plastic seals provide an extra barrier between children and the potentially harmful substance within.

 Uses in the hospital

As well as its sterility, the malleable nature of plastic means that it’s used in an array of essential hospital equipment. A Magnetic Resonance Imaging (or MRI) machine is just one such example; it allows doctors to take an internal scan of a patient’s body without cutting it open. However, due to the superconductive magnets, plastic is an invaluable material when constructing or using an MRI machine. Other hospital equipment that uses plastic as an indispensable component includes petri dishes and catheters.

It’s not just hospital equipment that benefits from the invention of plastic – it’s also a key element in a whole range of other medical advances. Among the most common element is eyewear – the introduction of plastic frames in glasses has helped reduce their weight, while also increasing their comfort and safety. Or, patients can forgo glasses entirely in favour of contact lenses, which also owe their entire existence to plastic. Prescription medication has also seen similar advances, as carefully engineered plastic pill casings break down inside the body, controlling the rate that the medication enters the bloodstream.

Modern artificial limbs, too, are often made out of high-tech plastic polymers, providing the elderly and disabled with more advanced prosthetic limbs – in turn granting them mobility that wouldn’t have been previously possible. When patients have been in serious accidents that involve broken bones or damaged muscles, much of the equipment used for their rehabilitation is made of plastic, helping them recover from their injuries and get back to peak physical fitness.

There are many more usages for plastic in medicine, but this post gives you a general overview. You can click here to read our post about how plastics could benefit your business, or here to browse our list of existing plastic products.