Textile fibres have long played a vital role in the medical and health care sector. However, the role played by fibre-based materials has advanced dramatically in recent years. For example, Bioglass fibres are now used in tissue engineering to create new bone structures, and textile scaffolds are being used to promote cell growth and build cell structures. The small cylindrical tubes made from biocompatible materials, are helping to support and keep open veins and arteries. Many are complex structures and require the use of sophisticated manufacturing technologies.
Fibres are also being used in nerve regeneration techniques to repair injuries resulting from trauma or surgery. Furthermore, devices made from textile fibres can be implanted to release therapeutic drugs at controlled rates and for controlled lengths of time.
Bandages have themselves evolved into advanced dressings which enable antibiotic and other drugs to be delivered directly to the parts of the body where they are needed. Some incorporate agents for stopping blood loss quickly.
Sutures have evolved from natural materials obtained from animals intestines to advanced biodegradable or bioabsorbable materials which eliminate the need for further medical attention once stitching has taken place. In casts, moisture-curing resins and glass fibres offer a lightweight and more comfortable alternative to plaster of Paris.
Advances in cell growth technology include the use of cell scaffolds made from microfibre membranes. Advances in textile fibres and conduits developed in order to guide nerve reconnection. Other areas of development include antimicrobial fabrics for medical uses and medical garments.
Author is a student in Third year, B-Tech Textile Technology, K.S.Rangasamy college of technology, Tiruchengode