Medical textiles are one of the most rapidly expanding sectors in the technical textile market, according to reports, and hosiery products with medical industry applications are among a long list of textile products being consumed in that market.

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. Medical textiles should have bio-compatibility, flexibility, and strength.

Introduction about medical textile:-

Textiles and textile fibers have played a vital role in the medical and health care sector.
Traditional products include bandages for covering wounds, sutures for stitching together the sides of open wounds to promote healing, substrates for plaster of Paris casts, and incontinence products. However, the role played by fiber-based materials has advanced dramatically in recent years. For example, bioglass fibers 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. Textile-based stents—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. Fibers are also being used in nerve regeneration techniques to repair injuries resulting from trauma or surgery. Furthermore, devices made from textile fibers 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 antibiotics 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.

About the application:-

Textiles materials that are used in medical applications include fibers, yarns, fabrics, and composites. Depending upon the application, the major requirements of medical textiles are absorbency, tenacity, flexibility, softness and at times biostability or biodegradability.
Fibers used in the medical field may vary from natural fiber such as cotton, silk, regenerated wood fluff (absorbent layer), to, manmade fibers like polyester, polyamide, polyethylene, glass, etc.

Application in the medical field:-
1.Cotton-Surgical clothing gowns, Beddings, Sheets, Pillow cover, Uniforms, Surgical hosiery
2.Viscose- Caps, Masks, Wipes
3.Polyester-Gowns, Masks, Surgical cover drapes, Blankets, Coverstock
4.Polyamide- Surgical hosiery
5.Polypropylene- Protective clothing
6.Polyethylene- Surgical covers, Drapes
7. Glass- Caps mask
8.Elastomeric- Surgical hosiery

Materials being used in medical textiles:-

Different materials are being used as per the different end usages like biodegradable materials are being used in sutures and absorbent textiles are being used in swabs.

Most durable materials with high comfort levels are normally used in the hospital bedding. The material used in medical textiles should be non-carcinogenic, non-toxic, and non-allergenic. It is also a greater need than the material should be sterilized without any special procedure and when it is being sterilized it should not change its physical and chemical properties. It is highly recommended that the material should be of the kind, which the human body can accept. The sizes of pores and the specific amount of pores is a considerable factor, which affects the reactions of blood and tissues in the body.
The application is the main thing that decides the biostability or biodegradability of the material. The production cost is entirely dependent on the application. The artificial skin and vascular grafts are costlier than swabs and surgical gowns. Every country has different production standards for medical textiles.

Innovative textiles that detect blood & monitor health

Researchers from the University of Michigan have come up with a new process of manufacturing a smart yarn with the ability to conduct electricity. Apparels made from this yarn will be able to detect blood and can be used in health monitoring programs. Fabrics that are manufactured currently using metallic and optical fibers will wear away quickly. Furthermore, they also tend to be uncomfortable to the wearer. The maintenance of these fabrics becomes a cumbersome process.

The new process of manufacturing involves a cotton yarn with a 1.5-millimeter thickness that is being immersed in polymer ethanol solution. This enables the yarn to conduct power from a battery to illuminate the light-emitting diode device. Anti-albumin is added in the solution which will react with albumin, a protein content found in the blood. Once the fiber comes in contact with the albumin in the blood, its conductivity increases. Connected with a telecommunication device, when a soldier wearing this apparel gets wounded, and becomes unconscious, it operates the mobile phone and sends a distress message to the command post. These garments can be used in the medical field, as performance garments, and many others.

E-textiles in health monitoring

The potential, progress, and challenges for next-generation smart garments.
Among the many benefits promised by the smart fabric, the revolution has been the “consumerization of health care.” Wearables are enabling the remote monitoring of a wide range of chronic medical conditions, from diabetes, high blood pressure, and congestive heart failure (CHF) to symptoms of the disease, discomfort, and stress.

First-generation ambulatory devices such as smart wristwatches, strap-on monitors, and removable battery packs are slowly being replaced by comfortable, washable garments made of e-textiles that fall into the category of smart fabrics. With the development of new conductive textile fiber technologies, the next generation of smart garments could engender improved wearing compliance, signal accuracy, and better health care for millions of consumers.

In 2017, smart fabrics in the medical and health segment had a market size of $97 million, according to IFAI research. A recent report published by the Market Research Future predicts the global medical smart textiles market will register a CAGR of approximately 9.5 percent during the forecast period 2018–2027. Despite the potential, a number of hurdles stand in the pathway between an advanced textile technology’s proof of concept and consumer level commercialization

Innovative Textiles To Detect Blood- A soldier at the battlefield, a firefighter or police officer, who is wounded and unconscious, cannot request help to a command post. A patient whose health is very critical cannot inform his condition to the doctors. But the clothes they are wearing can solve this problem by detecting blood. Nanotechnology offers viable solutions for various industrial needs. Advancements in this field have the possibilities for a gamut of new applications in textiles. Researchers from the University of Michigan have come up with a new process of manufacturing a smart yarn with the ability to conduct electricity. These yarns can be effectively woven into soft fabrics and tailored into apparel. These garments will be capable to detect blood, and monitor health.

Potential Applications can be used- The Fabrics made from these smart yarns have potential applications in professions that involve high risk. If A police officer is in danger, a firefighter who is hurt while at work, a wounded soldier at the war front may not be in a position to send a message requesting for help. But the apparels infused with smart yarns would be able to do it. The clothes can be designed accordingly; to store energy, which will provide the power to operate small electronic devices. A mobile phone or any other form of communication device attached to the clothing can transmit the information from the garment to a command post. It can also be used in garments and used for monitoring health. It also foresees lucrative applications as performance apparel.

The concept of electrically sensitive clothing made from nanotube infused cotton yarn can be adapted in various fields based on their exposure to potential risks. The burgeoning interest in nanotechnology opens a floodgate of opportunities for developing new and innovative products in the textile sector.

This material and textiles can be used to detect or check the blood since COVID -19 cases are increasing at a higher rate. The Blood clots in severe Covid-19 patients which leave clinicians with clueless about the illness — but no proven treatments.

Physicians from the U.S., the Netherlands, and China have published a number of case reports in scientific journals about Covid-19 patients with a multitude of small blood clots. In one report, researchers in China said 7 out of 10 patients who died of Covid-19 had small blood clots throughout the bloodstream, compared to fewer than 1 in 100 people who survived. It’s not necessarily the virus killing people, it’s the organ failure that happens as a result of the viral infection. Using the same material and fabric, we can know about the blood clots of the patients which would help the doctors to save their lives.

Textiles are more and more developing into interdisciplinary high-tech products with interesting changes in the market. Medical Textile Competence Centers are being established to make the most of knowledge, expertise, and existing collaboration with medical researchers, microbiologists, physiologists, and textile scientists. Each country has its own regulations and standards for medical textiles. As medical procedures continue to develop, the demand for textile materials is bound to grow.