Medical coatings

medical coating

Medical coatings contribute to better healthcare

Medical coatings refer to those applied on medical devices and equipment as well as surfaces in health care environments such as hospitals and dentist clinics. The equipment as any other products must be cost effective; however, the medical equipment also has to meet other requirements such as:

  • Compliance to strict sanitary guidelines
  • Bio-compatibility
  • Anti allergenic composition
  • Allowing optimal diagnostics

The 3 types of medical coatings

The medical coating market mainly consists of three types of coatings. These coatings are suitable for multiple medical devices and equipment ranging from those for basic check-ups to most demanding surgeries. The three types are:

  1. Lubricants
  2. Anti-microbial coatings
  3. Hydrophilic surfaces

In the UK, MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) provides guidance in placing medical devices in the UK market.

Lubricants for medical equipment

medical coatings

medical coating are applied for example on needles to improve lubrication.

Devices which are inserted into biological opening or other devices often need additional assistance to make the inserting as easy and painless as possible. Lubricant coatings are a type of medical coatings developed for these purposes; without a lubricant coating inserting for example a catheter would be painful, even dangerous for the patient. The coatings thus, reduce static and kinetic friction and are suitable for assisting in placing inorganic devices into patients’ bodies.

  • Avoid expansion flaking when in contact with fluids
  • Bio- and hemocopatibility
  • Retain functionality after repeated use

Anti-microbial coatings for protection

Antimicrobial coatings are used for sanitising devices and equipment. Their main purpose is to prevent external bacteria transferring to the body environment.  These coatings prevent microorganisms from growing and surviving on the surface. They are applied in equipment and devices as well as implants, screws and other inorganic materials placed in a human body.

Parylene coatings for medical devices in the UK

The parylene coating is a reliable protective coating which is ideal for medical devices. Parylene conformal coatings are ultra thin, pinhole free polymer coatings which provide many  essential surface  properties. Parylene coatings are bio-compatible and biostable; they also offer excellent moisture, chemical, and dielectric barrier protection, thermal and UV stability.

They additionally have a low coefficient of friction for applications where lubricity is important. Parylene has long been beneficial in medical applications, however as medical devices become smaller and more compact, parylene certainly finds increasing value due to its molecular level deposition. These coatings protect a wide array of devices and components in the UK, including screws, needles, probes, cardiac assist devices, medical electronics, implants, mandrels and molds as well as stents.

Water repelling hydrophilic coatings

Some medical devices, such as tubes, require increased wettability in order to properly function with bodily fluids and tissues. Hydrophilic surface coatings make polymeric devices susceptible to fluids by grafting polymers that help to bind water onto the material. The hydrophilic surface coatings must meet FDA biocompatibility standards before they are used with patients. Hydrophilic surface coatings can be either permanently or transiently hydrophilic, depending on the permanence needed for different materials, as well as able to conduct fluids over or through the material according to the substrate properties.

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