Plastic is any material that is part of a wide range of semi-synthetic or synthetic solids that are used in the manufacture of industrials products. Generally, the plastics are polymers that have high molecular mass, and they often incorporate other substances as much as to improve their appearance or functioning, like less cost of manufacture. Plastic is more and more accepted in the different industries because of its malleability.

 

One of the advantages of the plastics in medicine is its relatively low cost in comparison with glass and metal materials. As a result of that, the products made of low-cost plastic are often eliminated and therefore they do not need to be sterilized for its reuse. Plastics can be moulded in useful configurations that would be difficult or impossible to duplicate in glass and metal. As well, they do not break as crystal, but they are strong and flexible. The more used resins in medical plastics are polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene. But polycarbonates, ABS, polyurethanes, polyamides, thermoplastic elastomers, polysulfones and polyetheretherketone (PEEK) are finding applications specialized in health products, especially when they require high performance. Polyetheretherketone resins (PEEK) are replacing more and more the titanium, ceramic and other resins in applications of orthopaedic implants.

 

The plastic usage has evolved the medicine field making the resulted procedures be safer and simpler for the patients. For example, doctors had difficulties when the magnetic resonance imaging machine was used for the first time. A magnetic resonance scanning is basically a big magnet with the capability of attracting a metal object within its scope. Metal objects placed too close to the MRI machine could result dangerous in the air if they fly towards the magnetized machine. In the present, all the equipment that surrounds a magnetic resonance imaging is made of plastic to protect it from that problem. Even the tools used to install the MRI machine are made of plastic.

 

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The preoccupation on hospital infections has made an impact in the market of plastics, since it results more and more important to continually sterilize the portable medical devices for the suppliers of health care. As a result of it, these medical devices must be able to resist chemical products and cleaning products without damage, cracks or decolouration.

 

The use of plastic in the modern medicine has increased in a constant way in the last decade. Plastics have contributed to the reduction of medical costs, infectious illnesses and pain control. High technology polymers are used to create new and improved artificial extremities and plastic disposable containers have succeeded in the reduction of the risk of infections for the patients.  Patients are directly beneficiated from the use of plastic with more lives saved, improving and prolonging their life due to the use of it.

 

Sterile plastic containers and in particular disposable medical plastic products, have contributed to maintain low the rate of infection produced by staphylococcal. Among the disposable plastics, it is included IV and respiratory fittings and the filters of the laboratories and filter casings, diagnosis devices and blood collection tubes, separation equipments and dialysis components.

 

Even in something so simple and usual like glasses, plastics have improved people’s life. The use of plastics in frames and lens has helped to reduce the weight and to increase safety in general making them more resistant to breaks. The consumers who do not want to wear lens have the option of wearing contact lenses, which are also made of plastic.

 

Children’s safety has been also improved as a result of the use of plastic. Some decades ago, medical containers have no tamperfproof lids. Nowadays, almost all kinds of pharmaceutical containers have inviolable seals. The use of childproof lids maintains potentially harmful medicaments out of reach of children.

 

Plastics in medicine have also improved quality life of old people and the injured people in accidents. Nowadays knees and artificial hips are made of plastic. The gloves which are used by the surgeons are made of soft and flexible plastic and help to maintain the sterile environment of the operating theatres of the hospitals. Additional cost of savings can come from the implementation of medical equipment and the attention that now can be provided at home, with the efficient and simple use portable medical devices designed to be used by the patient at home. These portable medical devices include diagnosis tools, blood glucose meters, pulse oxymetries and the battery feed pump.

 

Home healthcare is trying to be a segment of improvement of this market, as technological advances allow patients who are under treatment for illnesses like diabetes and certain types of cancers could perform their treatments in different parts of the hospital.

 

Modern medical care would be impossible without plastic medical products like disposable syringes, intravenous blood bags and heart valves, etc. Plastic containers are especially appropriate for medical applications, due to their exceptional properties of barriers, light weight, low cost, durability, transparent and compatibility with other materials.

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