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4 Ways Foam Is Used For Medical Purposes

Innovation in the medical field is essential, as it ensures medical professionals can continue to provide optimal care to patients, whilst at the same time helping to reduce costs and financial pressures on cash-strapped health systems. One of those innovations leading the way in healthcare is how closed-cell polyethylene foam is being used for various applications, from medical device packaging to the comfort and support of patients.

In this Knowledge Centre article, we look a little closer at 4 ways in which foam is being used in the medical field, and how this unique material is improving treatments, and making the jobs of medical professionals easier.

  1. Medical Packaging For Sterility And Safety

    Medical packaging plays an essential role in safeguarding the integrity and sterility of medical supplies, equipment, and devices, and due to its exceptional cushioning properties, foam has become the packaging material of choice.

    One of the other key reasons closed-cell polyethylene foam, in particular, cross-linked foam (XPE) is used as a medical packaging material, aside from its cushioning properties, is that it also forms a superior barrier against moisture, dust, chemicals, and other contaminates.

    These two benefits combined, mean that when delicate medical instruments are transported or stored, the lifespan of the equipment is prolonged, therefore helping to cut costs and lower the chance of equipment malfunction.

  2. Customised Protection For Medical Supplies

    Whether it’s intricate surgical tools or advanced diagnostic equipment, certain medical devices require specialised packaging, to ensure their safe transport and protection from damage when transported and stored.

    Closed-cell polyethylene foam is one of the most formable packaging materials on the market, meaning expert foam converters can mould or form it within an exceptionally close tolerance, into almost any shape required. Additionally, once formed to accept, cushion and protect valuable medical equipment, closed-cell polyethylene foam packaging also provides an extremely non-abrasive surface, protecting items, such as glass items, from scratches.

  3. For Patient Comfort And Support

    Beyond packaging, closed-cell polyethylene foam is used for its outstanding comfort and support properties. Therefore, medical foam is often used for patients requiring specialised cushions to alleviate pressure points and increase comfort.

    Plus, as mentioned, closed-cell polyethylene foam can also be easily formed by skilled foam converters, meaning that it can be tailored for one-off uses, including unique wheelchair cushions, or highly specialised surgical positioning aids.

    In addition, the foams closed-cell structure also distributes weight evenly, helping to reduce the risk of pressure sores and ulcers in immobile patients, and, its hypoallergenic and non-toxic nature also makes it suitable for direct skin contact.

  4. A Barrier Against Pathogens

    Closed-cell polyethylene foam provides a highly-effective barrier to many pathogens, therefore the material is often used in healthcare environments to create hardwearing surfaces that are easy to wipe down and disinfect.

    Closed-cell polyethylene foam is also known for its resistance to mould and mildew, making it ultra-effective in healthcare environments where moisture is often present, such as during surgical procedures.