Medical Textiles: Definition & Products

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

Medical textiles can be found in your home, in your doctor's office, and in labs across the country as they are being developed for various means. This lesson covers the many different uses of medical textiles.

What Is A Medical Textile?

The last time you had a doctor's appointment, you may have seen a medical (healthcare) textile, a woven material or a material suitable for weaving used in the medical sphere. However, you should note that many of today's medical textiles are nonwoven in nature. Meaning, the material comprising this fabric has been bonded through other means, such as chemical or thermal means.

Let's go over some of the different types of medical textiles in use today and in development for use for the future!

Dressing & Clothing

Some of the medical textiles out on the market today are things you can find and use on your own. For, let's say, you scrape your knee today while playing basketball. You clean the wound and then apply a dressing, like gauze. That gauze is a kind of medical textile as it's made of a woven substance, such as cotton. Other commonly known examples of medical textiles include the textiles that make up hospital pillows and sheets; the textiles that are used in surgery, like surgical drapes; textiles found covering the sofa in a doctor's office - ones that may have antimicrobial properties; and clothing that medical professionals wear, such as scrubs or even the white coats doctors can be seen wearing.

A gauze pad, seen here, is a type of medical textile.
Gauze

But medical textiles aren't limited to medical practitioners. There are some in development that people with allergies to detergents may one day wear. See, some fabrics like cotton retain allergy-producing detergents more so than other fabrics. This is bad for those who have skin allergies to the chemicals found in detergents. One day, clothing that can repel specific chemicals may be developed for precise medical conditions like these, in order to make a patient's life better. There are even medical textiles in development today that may be able to sense your health. Yep, you might one day wear a shirt that will be able to figure out your heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure and then beam that all to your doctor!

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