While most of us think of plastic as something cheap and flimsy, there are actually many different types of plastic, some of which are quite strong and durable. In fact, some plastics are even used in medical applications where they need to be able to withstand a lot of wear and tear. Below are some things that you can know about them.
Medical-grade plastics are the types that are used in the medical field. They are made to be sturdy and durable so that they can withstand the sterilization process and high temperatures. They are also made to be safe for patients and meet all safety standards. Some of their advantages include:
1. Durable and can withstand repeated use
2. Safe for patients and meet all safety standards
3. They are easy to clean and sterilize
These types are often used in anesthetics, dental tools, surgical instruments, imaging equipment, and sterilization trays. The plastics’ medical grade status are now used globally and cater to the needs of those working in modern healthcare. You can also find them in beakers, catheters, implants, surgical instruments, etc. Polymers are usually used to manufacture them, and you’ll find that they can be made up of thermoplastic.
-Thermoplastics are a type of synthetic polymers that can be remolded and reheated repeatedly. They don’t display degradation, and the changes that they undergo are generally at a physical level. Thermoplastics can be recycled and reused without any significant chemical change, and when heated, the materials can be molded into a more durable product.
-Polyethylene is a thermoplastic used in various industries. Polyethylene’s resistance to chemicals, as well as its ability to absorb moisture, make it a great choice for medical plastic. It does not tend to retain microbes, is resistant to fading, and can withstand harsh cleaning chemicals. This is often used in implants because it does not tend to degrade inside the human body and is biologically inert.
–Polypropylene is one of the most inexpensive materials used in sterilization and steaming processes. Aside from their resistance to steam, they are very durable and can be reused for many cycles. Their feature of recyclability is one of the reasons they are one of the best choices for medical-grade plastics.
–Medical-grade thermoplastics should be the choice in many healthcare systems. The properties of polymers and medical-grade plastics are considered to be similar. This means that the manufacturing process requires a license of a physician to pass the requirements of validation and verification of regulatory bodies.
Biocompatibility is very important to patient safety, and the finished product should be resistant to corrosion, impact, and repeated sterilization. See more about biocompatibility on this site here. They can be in the form of polyethylene or polycarbonate, where the polymers’ formulation should meet the standards set by various industries.
–Polycarbonates are generally used for many materials. Polycarbonate is well-known to withstand high temperatures, and it can resist degradation because of impact. These applications are often applied to protective gear, lenses, and other devices. Since polycarbonates are very heat-resistant, they can be used in prototypes involving the making of various medical instruments and tools.
Other incredible advantages of medical-grade plastic include:
1. It is extremely durable and long-lasting.
2. It is resistant to most chemicals, making it ideal for use in many different settings.
3. It is easy to clean and sterilize, which is essential for any medical equipment.
4. It is lightweight yet strong, making it easy to transport and handle.
5. It is very versatile and can be used for various applications.
Testing Procedures Done to the Materials
Many manufacturers follow the industry standards when it comes to testing their materials and their final products. The first phase of the test includes a sterilized final product or its representative. They should be packaged, processed, and converted in the same way as the materials that are going to be used in hospitals, clinics, and laboratories. Some of the procedures done are:
Determining the Cytotoxicity – Cytotoxicity is the determinant of something that might cause death or damage to the cells. Read post about cytotoxicity in this link: https://www.verywellhealth.com/cytotoxic-definition-and-examples-2249082. There’s a standard for preparing the material samples and the biological cells that will be used in the testing. The primary aim is to look for the responses of the cell to the material.
Dermal Sensitization – This process will help researchers know whether a material will cause reactions and irritations to the skin. This is done through guinea pigs because their skin is nearly similar to human tissue. The materials are applied as a topical patch to the skin with the help of saline or vegetable oil. The results should determine whether the plastic will cause intracutaneous irritation.
Toxicity – This toxicity is where the testers look for a material’s effect on the heart, brain, kidney, or liver. By doing these standard procedures, the companies are learning more about the biological risk of their materials, and they can make changes accordingly.