Silicones bring unique performances and properties that make them the material of choice for countless essential applications in our day-to-day lives. They can make materials that do not want to stick together adhere. They are thermally stable meaning they retain their properties under high thermal stress (which means severe temperature changes). They help cool systems down, insulate, lubricate, protect and much more!
Silicones are an integral part of innovative medical treatments and care. They enable life enhancing devices and contribute to improving the performance of a wide variety of products.
Silicones in medical applications can facilitate healing and reduce discomfort as they are compatible with the human skin and body.
Syringes, hypodermic needles, cartridges, vials and ampoules for injectables are typically siliconised, which is a process whereby silicone oils are applied onto the surface of the containers and needles. Siliconisation provides a barrier coating between the material and the drug formulation which is key to drug safety, prevents the adsorption of formulation components on the glass surface, and improves containers’ drainability thanks to the hydrophobic deactivation of the surface. Silicones also help minimise the penetration forces of hypodermic needles, and enable the slightly sticky elastomer plunger to glide through the syringes barrel, greatly improving patient’s comfort.
Why are silicones used in healthcare?
When it comes to health care, we want the best for ourselves and our families. We want the reassurance that the tools used by health care professionas are safe, clean and dependable.
Silicone medical applications and infant care products satisfy the highest quality standards required by health care professionals and their patients. Resistant to bacteria, silicones are easy to sterilise and are excellent for sensitive applications, such as respiratory or dialysis tubing, and topical medications.
Thanks to their inorganic backbone, silicones tend not to interact with living tissues and not to irritate the body. They are ideal materials for implantable medical devices such as pacemakers, insulin pumps or cathethers. They are also hypoallergenic so they can be safely used for skin contact (wound care, artifical skin for burnt victims) and intravenous applications.
Where used as a coating on syringes, hypodermic needles, cartridges, vials and ampoules for injectable drugs, silicones help reduce patient pain and discomfort by minimising the skin penetration forces, and enable easy plunger gliding through the syringes barrel.
A selection of healthcare
applications using silicones
For example, silicones enable the 3-D printing of trachea transplants. Due to the global Covid pandemic, more patients have undergone intubation, a procedure causing heavy damage to the trachea. To treat the damage, surgeons started using silicone cylinders for printed trachea implants to duplicate the rigidity
of the organ.
Prosthetics & Joints
They also resist bacterial growth and help reduce the risk of infections.
Scar gels containing silicones are easy to apply and generally safe for use on all skin types. They can be used on both new and old scars and are often recommended by healthcare professionals as part of a comprehensive scar care regimen.
Additionally, silicones help protect infant care products from bacteria, mould and fungi. Their biocompatibility and tear strength make them a safe and suitable material in infant care products.
Thanks to their inorganic backbone, many silicones are biocompatible, meaning they are designed to be in contact with living tissues which tend not to interact with them, an especially important property for implantable medical devices.
Silicone tubing is also highly durable and resistant to heat, making it suitable for a wide range of medical applications, such as fluid transfer, catheterisation, and respiratory therapy.
A WORLD OF POSSIBILITIES.
Silicones have thousands of applications that collectively bring safety, comfort and enjoyment to life.
annual sale of products
containing silicones in the
in Europe (2018)
the total sales value
of energy products containing silicones
in Europe. (2018)
Take a look for yourself and see how silicones help enable a sustainable and digital future across industrial ecosystems, as defined by the EU’s industrial strategy aiming to support the twin transition towards climate neutrality and digital leadership.