Plastics are used in just about everything manufactured today. It’s a material so ubiquitous, it’s difficult for many to think of a time before it was invented or widely used. However, plastics have revolutionized many industries and aspects of life, though none so significantly as the healthcare field. Modern medicine has gained many benefits from using plastics, and these are the top three.
Because plastic is manufactured relatively cheaply, devices and equipment made from it are less expensive to purchase for healthcare facilities. Plastic items are also made quickly and the companies that produce the materials use plastic mold care products and other methods to keep their production lines running around the clock.
Prior to the advent of plastic, medical equipment was often reused and sometimes with minimal efforts to sterilize it. As scientists learned more about how pathogens spread, the focus on mitigating those risks led to innovations including using inexpensive disposable items made possible by plastic. Equipment can also be sealed in plastic prior to use to prevent cross-contamination. Another innovation to come from the material is the new plastics that have antimicrobial properties making it a winning choice for use in a medical setting.
Plastics in healthcare have also increased comfort for patients in many ways. Pliable plastics make joint replacements possible since they can mimic the body’s natural flexibility more closely than metal or other materials. Some people with metal and latex allergies have benefited from hypoallergenic types of plastics that can be used in medical settings. Plastics can also be molded to specifically fit a patient in a way that other materials simply cannot which is important in the field of prosthetics where patients may wear their devices every waking hour.
The use of plastics is a revolutionary innovation that has benefited many industries. However, the medical field has arguably gained the most from using the material and surely will for years to come.