Plastics in the Medical Industry


Despite being introduced to the medical industry in the 1950s, plastics didn't truly become commonplace in the field until the early 1980s. Medical-use plastics are what are known as extruded thermoplastics, and they originate from engineering type resins.

Today's medical field, especially modern operating rooms, rely heavily on thermoplastics due to their enhanced capabilities and physical properties. US Cast, one of the leading manufacturers of cast acrylic rods and tubes, explains why.  

Why Do Plastics Work Well In the Medical Field?

In order for an operating room to perform at its highest and safest levels, it needs to use products and materials that can be sterilized. Thermoplastics are capable of withstanding the autoclaving process, which involves sterilizing via steam. Even more beneficial, thermoplastics can withstand repeated sterilizations, thus allowing the same products to be used several times in a single day. This not only improves overall safety for the patients, surgeons, and support staff, but it helps control operating expenses.

In addition to being able to withstand autoclaving, thermoplastics can also stand up to other methods of sterilization in use today, including cold/plasma, ethylene oxide (EtO) gas, dry heat, and radiation sterilization.

Plastic in Medical Containers

Prior to the 1980s, medical containers for holding sterilized instruments were made of metal. But, during the 80s, plastic containers were introduced as an alternative to metal ones. Their popularity grew as the field discovered that using thermoplastic actually reduced the risks of post-operative infections due to incomplete sterilization of materials. In addition, the thermoplastic containers were also lighter and more affordable to produce.

Plastics Used in Implant Systems

As the medical field progresses, it finds more and more inventive ways to utilize thermoplastics and one of the growing areas where it is being used is in implant systems. Thermoplastics are becoming very widely accepted by orthopedic surgeons for spinal fixation procedures and total joint arthroplasties. In these procedures, it is acetal copolymer, polyetherimide, and polyphenylsulfone being used.

US Cast: Bringing Cast Acrylic Rod to the Medical Industry

The medical field is in a constant state of innovation and in many ways, cast acrylic rods and tubes are at the forefront of how patients are being treated. Plastic plays an integral role in how patients are diagnosed and how operating rooms operate, and US Cast leads the way with state-of-the-art cast acrylic rods and tubes. To learn more about the qualities of our plastics or to place and order, just give us a call today at 856-347-2342 or connect with us on Facebook.


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