Medical textiles or healthcare textiles present a new frontier in the field of technical textiles with consumption increasing at a rate of 4.6% per year globally (Textile Guide). Increasing life expectancy and improvements in medical coverage are fuelling this rise in demand for medical textiles and encouraging research into further applications for the future.
Bandage materials are an example of a high growth area of medical textiles that still uses traditional fabric compositions and holds plenty of room for innovation. For example, bandages for holding dressings in place are customarily made from a simple loosely woven cotton or linen gauze. Elasticated, adhesive and compression bandages are manufactured from woven fabrics using PVC, polyethylene or polyurethane with latex to provide added stretch in order to apply light pressure to the affected area. While effective, further enhancements could see bandage materials playing a more active role in patient healing and recovery.
Surgical hosiery is a further area of medical textiles that offers potential. This includes products such as pressure socks or sleeves for use after surgery for ulcers and deep vein thrombosis. This family of healthcare textiles are produced using polyamide, polyester, cotton, and elastomeric yarns to create nonwoven and knitted fabrics. However, surgical hosiery or compression garments often require customised fabric compositions for the treatment of specific conditions and for meeting the needs of a patient’s specific physiology thus fuelling the need for a greater variety of fabric types.
For the future, bandages and surgical hosiery represent opportunities to improve upon on the range of fabrics currently available, both in terms of performance and properties. Potential advancements include bandage fabrics that offer anti-bacterial properties, soil release and moisture management to assist in the healing process. Environmental sustainability is a further challenge facing the development of medical textiles, with the need to develop environmentally friendly fabrics that can be reused hygienically.
Shinta Indah Jaya remains committed to continuous research and innovation by exploring new areas and applications for its range of high-quality textile products. Working closely with customers and technological partners, SIJ is well positioned to further explore the exciting field of medical textiles in the future.