Silicone in the Medical Industry
Silicone is becoming steadily more common in many industries, but one in which it is very popular is medicine. Silicone can be found in everything from IVs to hearing aids, and it has many properties that make it perfect for these uses. Your body and your health are incredibly important, and it is common to want to know the origins of medical instruments that you come into contact with. Here is a brief overview of the use of silicone in the medical industry.
Silicone has great insulating properties, and as it does not conduct heat, it is perfect for wire casing. This prevents electrical appliances from short circuiting due to wires touching. Medical equipment such as MRI scanners, ultrasound machines, and defibrillators all use silicone encased wires in their electrical components. Silicone wiring is also incredibly flexible, which makes it perfect for a huge range of appliances.
Prosthetics and Implants
Due to its low toxicity, silicone is a great material to use in anything that comes into contact with the skin and body. Breast implants are commonly made of silicone as they don’t wrinkle and closely mimic the feel of the natural tissue. Prostheses such as fingers and feet are frequently made of silicone as it is durable, waterproof, and won’t irritate the skin when it is attached. It is also soft and flexible, mimicking the movement of limbs, as well as the appearance, and is shock absorbent and comfortable enough to be worn against the skin for extended periods of time.
Many medical wound dressing are now made of silicone, again due to its low toxicity. It is safe to be used on the skin and near open wounds. This makes it ideal for injuries such as burns and ulcers and for use on areas where the skin is fragile or damaged. Silicone is waterproof and long-lasting, providing great protection from external elements. It is also known as ‘atraumatic’, which means that a patient experiences little to no trauma as a result of the dressing, either through application or removal.
Silicone is used to make syringes and IV, as well as the previously mentioned breast implants and rhinoplasty. Not only does its chemical inertness mean that it does not irritate skin, it is also safe to use inside the body. Syringes are often coated in silicone, which makes the process of using them less painful for the patient. Silicone does not react with other chemicals and is bacteria-resistant, greatly reducing the risk of internal infection. Items such as pacemakers and hearing aids also include silicone.
As you can see, silicone is used all over the medical industry, from appliances and instruments to dressings and implants. Other industries that favor silicone for similar reasons include construction, homeware, and cosmetics. Chemical inertness, water and heat resistance, durability, and elasticity make silicone a desirable material for a huge number of items and uses. It is also easy to manufacture, making it readily available for use every day, all over the world.