Medical Plastic Data Service Magazine



Our 31st Year of Publication
Page  1 of 5


Cover Story

Medical Plastics Tubing: Applications, Quality, & Extrusion Process Challenges


The focus for this issue is the most dynamic area in the medical device sector - medical tubing and extrusion technology. The medical device industry contributes significantly to the healthcare industry as well as the patients in improving the quality of healthcare services by way of reducing procedure and hospitalization times, and patients’ trauma, while improving outcomes. This is possible because of advancements offered by medical tube manufacturers by way of more properties, more material options as well as more precise process control which in turn results in improved medical device designs. A good understanding of polymer science and behaviour of polymer materials is very important in order to get high quality medical tunings. A very detailed overview on various techno-commercial aspects related to medical tubing and extrusion technology is covered in this issue.


Medical Tubing and Extrusion Technology


The medical tubing segment comprises the most dynamic area in the medical device landscape. The market of plastic Tubing is expecting significant growth due to changing global demographics and the growth of medical procedures such as minimally invasive surgeries.


As per “Markets & Markets” , the global Medical Tubing market was valued at US $ 4.9 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach US $ 7.9 billion by 2026 , growing at a CAGR 10 % .


Primary drivers of the global market for medical tubing are rapidly increasing geriatric populations, the increasing demand for medical devices that incorporate tubing, the growing access to health care around the globe, which carries with it a market for medical devices and the tubing associated with those devices and minimally invasive surgeries.


Critical Applications


Plastic tubing plays a pivotal role in many advanced medical procedures, such as vascular catheters, conduits for acquiring biopsy samples, and holders for stents being implanted into heart arteries. Minimally invasive techniques such as angioplasty drove the need for tubing with small diameters and thinwalls, temperature control became critical for maintaining tight dimensional tolerances. Other Examples of tubing applications include high-pressure catheter tubing, stent-delivery catheters, and balloon tubing used in medical balloons, especially stent delivery balloons. Examples of markets that rely heavily on tubing technology include the


• Neurovascular (e.g., treatment of stroke).
• Cardiovascular (e.g., angioplasty, stenting, cardiac ablation, and mitral valve repair).
• Peripheral interventions (e.g., stent grafts, venous therapy).
• Endoscopic and renal denervation applications
• Implants (e.g, inferior vena cava filter, and prosthetics valves).


Material, Process & Quality Requirements For High-Quality Extruded Tubing


A good understanding of polymer science and the behavior of polymer materials is extremely important for achieving high quality extruded tubing. Polymer material suitable for medical tubing should have: Inertness to body tissues and fluids, Flexibility, Resistance to sterilization conditions, Low extraction, Clarity and Low cost for high volume applications.


PVC, with the advantages of combination of performance and costs is the most widely used plastic medical tubing material. Polyethylene is the second largest material in medical tubing based on volumes consumed. TPE, polyamide, silicone, fluoropolymer and PEEK also find specialized niches in tubing systems. PP and PC are also used as medical tubing materials.


The following table highlights commonly used medical polymers and their respective major applications.


Medical Tubing And Extrusion Technology

Sr. Materials Common Applications Sr. Materials Common Applications
1 Polyvinyl Chloride PVC Containers used for blood and blood components for urine or for ostomy products and tubing used for blood taking and blood giving sets, catheters, heart-lung bypass sets, haemodialysis set etc. 9 High Density Polyethylene LDPE Embolectomy, Guidewire dispensers, Introducers, Protective tubes, Thrombectomy, Sheaths and dilators for introducers, Coextruded perfusion tubing, Aspirator tips
2 Polytetrafluoroethylene, PTFE Catheter liner, Electrical Insulation, Fluid transfer, Telecommunication 10 Low Density Polyethylene LDPE Embolectomy, Guidewire dispensers, Introducers, Protective tubes, Throbectomy
3 Fluorinated Ethylene, Propylene, FEP IV catheter, Regional Anesthesia, Vascular access 11 Polyurethane PUR (Aliphatic) Angiography, Cardiac catheters, Central Venous catheters, Dialysis, Epidural catheters, IV catheters, Epidural probes, Catheters, High-pressure lines
4 Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene, ETFE Fluid transfer, IV catheter, Electrical insulation 12 Polyurethane PUR(Aromatic) Angiography, Cardiac catheters, Central Venous catheters, Dialysis, Epidural catheters, IV catheters
5 Perfluoroalkoxy, PFA Fluid transfer, In Vitro diagnostics 13 Polypropylene PP Guidewire dispenser tubes and Protective tubes
6 NYLON, 6, 11, 12 Angiography, Choloecstectomy, Epidural catheter, Laparoscopic instruments, Radiology 14 Ethylene Vinyl Acetate EVA Endotracheal, Embolectomy, IV therapy, Suction catheter
7 Polyether Block Amide, PEBA Angiography, Cholangeography, Epidural Catheter, Radiology 15 ACETAL Laparoscopy, Guiding catheter
8 Polycarbonate PC Laparoscopic instruments, IV therapy, Laparoscopic cannulae, Tube packaging, Microtubes


Back | Back to Top  | Previous | Next