The Role of Plastics in Medicine

Medicine is a constantly evolving field that is always drawing on research in other scientific sectors. Materials science, chemistry and polymer engineering have created a variety of plastics that have proved indispensable to the practice of modern medicine, particularly in hospitals. In this article, we will explain some of the crucial roles plastics play in medicine.

Polylactic Acid (PLA)

Polylactic Acid (PLA) is a biodegradable and bioactive ‘bioplastic’ that can be derived from natural sources such as corn starch or sugar cane. It degrades into lactic acid, the same molecule that builds up after strenuous exercise you’re your muscles are working. This degradation pathway is therefore susceptible to occurring within the human body, and that’s why PLA is used in medical implants. It is particularly useful for screws, pins, rods, meshes and plates that can be designed to break down over between six months to two years depending upon the role of the implant.

Disposable Packaging

Sterility is extremely important for virtually all medical equipment. After all, hospitals are full of sick people with illness or diseases, and the spread of disease / infection between patients is a leading cause of death in hospitals. Once it was necessary to continually sterilise and clean every single item in a hospital, but thanks to plastic packaging, many items have freshly come out of plastic poly tubing and are designed to be sterile and ready to use.

Medical Waste Disposal

In line with the issue of sterility in hospitals and medical clinics is the issue of sanitation. Medical facilities create vast amounts of potentially toxic and contaminated waste that could cause significant public health problems if it is not disposed of adequately. Because this, hospital waste and clinical waste is varied and often requires sorting into different medical bins. Different kinds of medical waste bags are required for cytotoxic waste, clinical waste, hazardous waste,  vented waste and general waste.

Temporary Surface Protection

Temporary surface protection is also an important role of plastics in the medical industry. Plastic sheeting can be applied to a variety of surfaces that are then used for the temporary placement of contaminated items, like surgery implements. This acts to reduce the risk of cross-contamination between patients as this temporary plastic sheeting can be quickly and easily disposed of with a medical bin.

Need Sustainable Plastic Solutions?

Dolphin Plastics & Packaging is a leading flexible packaging manufacturer based in Queensland. We are committed to producing sustainable plastic packaging solutions for organisations in a variety of industries across Queensland and down the east coast of Australia. To find out more about how we can help you, call Dolphin Plastics & Packaging today on (07) 5610 5278 or contact us online.