Fluoropolymers in Healthcare: The Road Ahead
In the ever-evolving healthcare sector, there is a perpetual demand for novel materials to develop advanced medical instruments. Fluoropolymers, a relatively new addition to the family of plastic, are gaining remarkable traction in the healthcare sector in applications that demand high resistance to temperature and pressure.
Fluoropolymers bestow several benefits - such as lubricity, chemical inertness, resistance to wide temperature range, and dielectric properties, to name a few -- when used in medical applications. Furthermore, Fluoropolymers comply with both biocompatibility and physical criteria needed for usage in the healthcare sector and are gradually supplanting other types of plastics on this premise.
On the back of these facets, fluoropolymers are being largely used as a base material in the production of external protective wear such as gloves, jackets, aprons, and tourniquets, among others. As the need for the aforementioned products remains high among medical professionals to avoid exposure to harmful germs, the demand for fluoropolymer plastics will consequently persist high.
Along similar lines, backed by their high quality, different variants of fluoropolymers such as PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene), PFA (perfluoroalkoxy alkane), and FEP (fluorinated ethylene propylene) are finding adoption in production of functional devices. Considering functional devices and medical apparatus such as filters, drainage tubings, ventilators, inhalers are of utmost importance, manufacturers are seeking biocompatible materials. On this premise, fluoropolymer teflon is gaining popularity as a raw material in the healthcare industry.
Moreover, the surface of fluoropolymers allows customization to deliver specific filtration properties and improve the flow rate. Leveraging the compatibility of the material with fluids, fluoropolymers are used in the production of accessory equipment that comes in direct contact with fluid. As a result, accessories derived from fluoropolymer, such as pumps, tubing, fittings, are being highly sought out. In addition to these, the superior dielectric and chemical properties are strengthening the overall quality of these derived devices.
Owing to the material's compatibility with human tissues, fluoropolymer-based products are preferred in applications where exposure to human tissues is required. On these lines, there has been a shift from conventional plastic towards fluoropolymers in the manufacturing of products such as catheters, bio-containment vessels, syringes, and sutures. Likewise, the material's ability to reduce friction between surfaces makes it an ideal choice to develop devices such as lumen tubing and drainage tubes, which find application in non-invasive and minimally invasive surgical procedures.
Besides, the longevity of multi-lumen fluoropolymer catheter tubes medical professions to administer multiple surgeries using the same catheter, lessening the operational expenses and increasing efficiency of the surgery, while also enhancing safety. Backed by its time-saving nature and lubricity property, multi-lumen tubing is highly prominent in the healthcare landscape.
Continual advancements on the fluoropolymer extrusion technology front have played a pivotal role in shaping the catheter technology, and fluoropolymers are poised to remain at the center of innovation in surgical devices. High inclination towards these materials is majorly attributed to their increased tolerances and extrusion capabilities.
Additionally, PVDF (Polyvinylidene Fluoride Fluoropolymer) tubing is finding adoption in medical applications, owing to its high abrasion, wear resistance. The tubes are compliant with FDA regulations and operate in the temperature ranges between -50 C and 1500 C, thus furthering propelling adoption. Moreover, PVDF tubing is resistant to the growth of bacteria and fungi, thereby eliminating the risk of infections and making it safe for usage in surgical procedures. On the back of these factors, the future of fluoropolymers in healthcare looks brighter than ever.