By: D. Gopalakrishnan

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Institute of Textile Management, 1483, Avinashi road,
Peelamedu, Coimbatore - 641 004,

An important field of application of textile in medicine has been developed such as wound care and preventing chronic wounds. Bandages and wound dressings are most commonly used because they are affordable and reusable. The medical textile should have bio-compatibility, flexibility and strength. In surgical dressings the "sorbagon" dressings are innovated to produce more comfort in the dressing of wounds. Some of the super absorbent polymers are innovated, which includes polyacrylate and sodium acrylate are made to improve the absorbency of the fibres. The recently developed calcium alginate.

Fibres have high super absorbing capacity. Recent advances and specific requirements necessitated innovation in surgical sutures which includes barbed, gelatin coated catgut sutures. A recent development of silk fibre includes "spider silk" which has been obtained from goat milk by injecting the genes of spider into mammary glands of goat. The textile materials have generated considerable interest in medical technology where materials in the form of monofilament, multifilament, woven and nonwovens structures are being used for bio and medical applications. The major requirement of the textile materials is the bioreceptivity and biocompatibility at the application site in human being.


The term medical textile literally means textile used for medical purposes. Textile apart from being a vital part human life is long since been used in medical field, though the term has been coined very recently. Textile materials have wide range properties such as flexibility, elasticity, strength etc. Textiles used for medical purposes should be non-allergic, non-carcinogenic, non-toxic, and antistatic in nature, optimum fatigue endurance, bio-compatibility, flame proof, dyes must be non irritant. An important and growing part of the textile industry is the medical and related health care and hygiene sectors. The extent of the growth is due to the constant improvements and innovations in both textile technology and medical procedures. They are used in a number of separate and specialized applications which can be categorized as follows:

. Non-implantable materials: Wound dressing, bandages, plasters etc.

. Extracorporeal devices: Artificial kidney, liver and lungs.

. Implantable materials: Sutures, vascular grafts, artificial joints etc.

. Healthcare/hygiene products: Bedding, clothing, surgical gowns cloths, wipes