Plastics have long played a major role in the medical device industry. Thanks to plastics’ use in disposable “single-use” devices (syringes, intravenous delivery devices, etc.), infection rates have dropped dramatically over the past 50 years.The global medical device market is expected to reach US$302 billion in 2017, and big changes are expected.
The way treatments are administered will change and there will be fewer invasive procedures and more minimally invasive surgeries. Devices are becoming smaller, especially electronic devices that help deliver drugs automatically at prescribed doses and specified times, helping patients enjoy more normal active lives.Monitoring devices worn by the patient can deliver information to the treating physician on a 24/7 basis and mean fewer hospital stays and less time in doctors’ offices.
Materials such as bio-compatible plastics for implantable medical devices can help bones to knit faster, lower rejection rates and minimize adverse reactions to other materials. Many implantable micro-devices contain pharmaceuticals that can provide medication for a period of time. Known as ‘drug-eluting’ devices, these new treatment methods offer convenience for the patient and are more efficacious because the drug is delivered on a continuous basis, sometimes directly to the affected organ such as the eye for people with glaucoma.Plastics in medical devices make them safer and convenient and reduce the overall total cost of care in today’s healthcare environment.