- 1 Introduction To Advancements In Medical Textiles
- 2 Types Of Reusable Textiles Used For Medical Applications
- 3 Conclusion
Because of innovative applications in today’s healthcare environment, the medical textiles industry and research are developing at an incredible rate, with achievements in such fields as infection control, barrier materials, wound care products and medical devices.
For example, some decades ago only a few kinds of the nontraditional wound dressing (as opposed to traditional ones like cotton, lint, and gauzes) were available in the healthcare product market. Nowadays, the explosion in product variety, market size and segments can be observed around the world, and virtually new products are appearing on the market.
Also at the centre of current research are well known and widely used cotton and other natural fibres, such as silk, flax, and hemp. These natural fibres can be given significantly improved properties using enzymatic and other advanced biotechnological procedures as well as new methods of processing and modification of usual fibres, with the aim of overcoming their drawbacks.
Introduction To Advancements In Medical Textiles
Many modern medical textile products are made from polymer fibre components and their modified structures. The area of advanced medical textiles is significantly developing because of the major expansion in various fields such as implantable devices, medical devices, bandaging and pressure garments, wound healing, infection control and barrier materials, controlled release, hygiene products, the development of new intelligent textile products and textronis.
The latest innovations in the field of medical textiles confirm the importance of modern techniques such as tissue engineering and nano applications and their great impact on advanced wound care structures.
Human beings are always in a dynamic state. Furthermore, the present day society is undergoing changes such as ageing of the population and increase in the life span of individuals.
Various situations and hazards of human activity and civilisation also include transport accidents, effects of chemical materials, temperature, and other factors which stimulates the rapid movement of the medical and healthcare product market with the requirements for novel techniques and technologies for developing modern textile materials and polymers. Virtually new products are regularly being approved following development by researchers.
Role Of Textile Structures In Healthcare
New generation medical textiles are an important and growing field. The importance of medical textiles is determined by their excellent physical, geometrical, and mechanical qualities, such as strength, extensibility, flexibility, air, vapour and liquid permeability, availability in two- or three-dimensional structures, variety in fibre length, fineness, cross-sectional shape, etc.
Nowadays, textile products are able to combine traditional textile characteristics with modern multifunctionality.
Medical textiles should provide many specific functions depending on the scenario (healthcare monitoring or healing), application peculiarity, the individuality of the patient and so on. Specialised materials with determined functions can be included in medical textiles, extending into multifunctional systems made from natural or/and manufactured (man-made) materials.
Such materials could be bacteriostatic, anti-viral, non-toxic, fungistatic, highly absorbent, non-allergic, breathable, haemostatic, biocompatible and incorporating medications, and can also be designed to provide reasonable mechanical properties and comfort.
A wide variety of textile structures can be used in medicine and healthcare: fibre (or filament), sliver, yarn, woven, nonwoven, knitted, crochet, braided, embroidered, composite materials, etc. Medical textiles also use materials like hydrogels, matrix (tissue engineering), films, hydrocolloids, and foams.
The advantage is that the materials can be used as gels, films, sponges, foams, beads, fibres, support matrices and in blends or combinations as well. Specialised additives with special functions can be introduced into advanced products with the aim of absorbing odours, providing strong antibacterial properties, reducing pain and relieving irritation.
Cellulose is the most widespread natural polymer and is now the basic polymer used in the mass production of many materials for healthcare. Keratin and fibroin are structural biopolymers used for biomedical applications because of their useful properties including biodegradability and good biocompatibility. These biopolymers can be extracted from hair, wool, silk, nails, and feathers.
Silk-fibroin has for centuries been used as a suitable raw material for manufacturing surgical threads. Materials obtained from natural silk-fibroin are characterised by good water vapour and air permeability, as well as high biocompatibility. Unfortunately, products such as films and sponges obtained from silk-fibroin are too fragile for biomedical applications.
Regenerated cellulose fibres are also used to replace traditional materials.In the healthcare field, viscose (CV) fibres manufactured from cellulose are known as suitable materials. Regenerated fibres manufactured via the direct dissolution of cellulose in organic solvents are known as lyocell (CLY) fibres. CV and CLY fibres are highly hydrophilic and are not thermoplastic.
Antibacterial, anti-UV, anti-perspiration, hypoallergenic, anti-mite, therapeutic and catalytically degrading textiles have discovered new markets in areas such as care products, controlled drug release through functionalised textiles, hygiene, disinfection and sterilisation, bedding and hypoallergenic textiles, scaffolding, noise protection/reduction, radiation and vibration.
Reusable Textile Materials
Reusable textiles offer society many advantages. These include environmental, public health and physical property and performance benefits which will be discussed. Cost advantages are also a major consideration in this study.
Waste generation has been a growing global concern. In the United States alone, waste generation has grown from151.6 million tons in 1980 to 251.3 million tons in 2006. These included energy consumption, acidification (of water and soil), eutriphication (nutrient discharged to the water environment), global warming and post-consumer waste.
Physical Properties & Performance
Ability to recycle:- The millions of tons of medical waste created by single-use, disposable materials can, to a great extent, be significantly reduced, as reusable medical textiles may be used. The utilization of medical waste incineration and hazardous waste landfills can be diminished as fewer single-use products are employed. This acts as major advantage i.e. cost saving factor.
Lint generation:– Airborne particulates, can create severe complications during surgical procedures. Nonwoven fabrics such as those made with wood pulp fibre, among others, have been identified as leading to post-surgical difficulties such as intestinal obstructions due to peritoneal adhesions.
Comfort:- Comfort is often based on the perception of the wearer. Utilizing any specific garment type, a selection of wearers, etc.
Types Of Reusable Textiles Used For Medical Applications
- Precaution apparel.
- Professional attire.
- Patient apparel.
- Sheets and pillowcases.
- Surgical toweling.
One hundred percent cotton huck toweling, and other cotton products, continue to represent the bulk of surgical toweling products employed and are part of most, if not all, surgical packs. The materials are highly absorbent and remain as a reliable staple for this aspect of O.R. procedures.
The promising results reported for 100% polyester sheets and pillow cases has prompted the development of the concept for surgical toweling products. However, for the present, 100% cotton materials remain as the primary product used for this application.
Precaution apparel, also known as precautionary apparel, and in some instances referred to as isolation apparel. Precaution gowns and/or professional coats can be supplied, made with fluid resistant, 100% continuous fi lament polyester fabrics.
They may also be produced with a 99% continuous filament polyester/1% conductive carbon material where static control is required. Blends of 50/50 polyester/cotton material (also fluid resistant finished) are also used in this application.
The fluid resistant technology, as previously described for surgical pack products is a similar methodology utilized for this end use application.
Within hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities and doctors and dentists offices, healthcare workers require numerous apparel items, in addition to surgical and precaution products (PPE), as previously defined. Included in this listing are long and short lab coats, scrub apparel, various aprons and warm-up jackets.
All of these products (including the surgical items mentioned previously) are expected to be durable to the heavy duty work which most employees encounter in their normal daily routines. In addition, these items must withstand the rigors of institutional laundering, originally, prior to the 1950s, many of these vocational garments were made with 100% cotton materials.
Polyester/cotton blends, including those with durable press, soil release and moisture wicking capabilities have become the dominant materials used for many professional attire products used during the latter part of the twentieth century and beyond.
The medical care sector is a dynamic and growing group of interrelated global activities. Many developments, actions and challenges exist and the following are some key directions for current consideration.
Comfort evaluations represent a course of research which can add knowledge and value to the performance characteristics of reusable textiles. Improved comfort, fluid impervious products, particularly for PPE, represents an ongoing need. Bearing in mind that some surgical procedures last several hours or more, the need for highly fluid impervious materials. Improved performance incontinence materials
The new methodology offers an increase in the speed of wicking moisture away from the patient’s body. In addition, claims are made for a middle layer with higher absorbency characteristics. Furthermore, the development reports a moisture barrier layer which not only is fluid impermeable, but is engineered to maintain the pad more securely in place with fewer tendencies to bunch up under the patient.
All of the preceding features are reported to combine performance features leading to dryer, more comfortable long-term care patients, less likely to experience skin breakdown conditions
With the ongoing challenges of infectious disease, interest has urged the development of numerous antimicrobial (A/M) products for reusable healthcare textiles. Among these A/M technologies are the following:
N-halamine-based fi nishes (Williams et al.2006)
Bioactive materials (Edwards et al. , 2006)
Antimicrobial acrylic fi ber (Lee et al. , 2006)
Copper impregnated antimicrobial textiles (Borkow, 2008)
Organic functional silane antimicrobial technology (Clarke et al. , 2006).
The previous listing of A/M products represents a broad overview of several methods available for possible investigation. The grouping is not an exhaustive overview of the subject, but represents a number of directions which organizations may wish to study for possible future applications.
This paper has traced the origins of the sterile field and the discussion of textile materials to supply that need, as well as current challenges in mankind’s battle to contain disease. Additional critical factors such as regulatory demands, environmental issues and the search to control rising healthcare costs have also been discussed.
An attempt has been made to show how reusable medical textiles support all of these issues as well as the necessity to attain sustainable development in the twenty-first century.
Handbook of medical textiles-Wood-head publications.