Silicone seems to have a natural affinity with the human body. Not only is it tolerated well, but it can actually help with healing, reducing discomfort and improving the appearance of skin.
Strong, stable and durable, silicones of various kinds are used in multiple healthcare applications.
They are resistant to bacteria, so they can easily be sterilised, and because they are hypoallergenic, they can be used both in contact with skin and intravenously. They don’t irritate the body and don’t react with other materials, such as dressings. These qualities can be extremely important in the care of babies and other vulnerable patients.
Silicone’s Myriad Medical Uses
Silicones are also used in medical equipment, such as syringes, where they coat the needle to enable it to slide more easily into the skin, thus reducing pain. Similarly, silicone hose manufacturers such as https://www.goodflexrubber.com/pages/silicone-hose-manufacturer supply medical-grade hoses and tubing to minimise reactions from the patient’s body.
Wound management is greatly improved by the fact that silicone adheres well. Silicones can act as a second skin, with the same consistency as our skin but providing extra comfort and cushioning. So it’s no surprise that we see many uses of this wonderful material, in artificial joints and limbs – prosthetics.
Prosthetics that are silicone-based can be accurately moulded to cushion the person’s body in the appropriate place. Because silicone is so durable, it will hold the shape it has been moulded into, which is ideal when it is acting as a replacement joint. And because silicone doesn’t encourage bacteria, the risk of infection, a major complication in joint replacement surgery, is greatly reduced.
Silicone is also used for implants. Today different grades of medical silicone are classified as non-implantable, restricted implantable and unrestricted implantable. It’s very important that the correct grade is chosen.
Some pharmacies stock sheets of silicone or gels containing it. The NHS advises that these shouldn’t be used on open wounds but can be used on skin that is healing to reduce redness.
They can also be used to try to reduce the size of keloid scars (the lumpy scars caused by collagen collecting during the healing process). This process requires the sheets to be in contact with the skin for 12 hours a day, over a duration of about three months.