How Plastic Has Revolutionised the Medical Industry

From the simple sticking plaster to the multi-million pound MRI machine, plastic is everywhere in the medical industry. Plastic products have revolutionised the medical industry over the last hundred years. We take a look at three examples of ground breaking designs where plastic has been used to great effect.

The Sticking Plaster

The cotton dressing sitting on a woven plastic polymer that is adhesive on one side was invented by Thomas Anderson, an employee of Johnson and Johnson. Anderson's wife often accidentally burnt and cut herself whilst cooking, so he designed a simple dressing that was easy for her to apply herself. He showed his boss the invention. Johnson and Johnson branded them the 'band aid' and went on to sell 100 billion of them.

Medical Plastic

Safety Cap Bottles

Canadian Henri Breault invented the 'palm and turn' safety cap bottle in the early 1970s. Accidental poisonings at that time were numbering over 1000 per year. With the introduction of mandatory safety caps for pharmaceutical products rolled out across the country from 1974, that figure dropped by a staggering 91%. Breault is largely unknown outside his home country, but spare a thought for him next time you open a bottle of bleach or aspirin.

The Ergonomic Scalpel Handle

Hippocrates, the Ancient Greek philosopher known as "the father of Western medicine", described his surgical knife as being like a Lacedaemonium sword: it was sharpened along one edge and narrowed to a fine point allowing for precision in incisions. In some respects the design has not changed much. Modern scalpels come in two pieces, the disposable metal blade and the ergonomic plastic handle. The two main grips used by surgeons - the 'palmar' for large opening incisions and the 'pencil' for more detailed surgery - are facilitated by the plastic handle.

Do you have a simple idea that could revolutionise the medical world? We have over thirty five years of experience designing and implementing plastic products for the medical industry, so you can rely on our expertise in bringing your idea to reality. Call us on +44 1692 501020 for more information.

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