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3 Advancements in Surgical Instruments

As the healthcare industry advances, medical equipment manufacturers demand cost-effective, high-performance components for increased productivity and efficiency in the field of surgical instruments. OEMs have adopted medical grade plastics as a practical, innovative alternative to traditional metal counterparts to ensure simplified processability with equal or improved functionality. Solvay’s broad portfolio of chemically resistant, steam sterilizable, rigid and resilient medical grade polymers provides OEMs with an abundance of outstanding biocompatible materials for surgical instruments.

Why Specialty Polymers

With over 25 years of experience as a leading supplier in the healthcare industry, Solvay specialty polymers for surgical instruments are used to manufacucture both single-use and reusable devices. Specifically, Ixef® PARA (polyarylamide) offers extraordinary strength and stiffness, which makes it an excellent choice for single-use instruments including inserters, retractors, curettes, forceps, surgical needle holders and skin staple removers. Additionally, Radel® PPSU (polyphenylsulfone) is an incredibly tough, transparent or opaque plastic that can withstand virtually endless steam sterilization cycles. Accordingly, this high performing plastic is ideal for repeat-use surgical cases and trays. These high-performance materials meet and exceed the highest industry standards for biological safety and have a direct impact on the quality and ease of modern surgical procedures.

Sterilization Compatibility and Resilience


The shift of traditional metals to high performing plastics for use in surgical instruments offers OEMs an innovative solution with high sterilization compatibility and flexibility. However, sterilizable plastics must exhibit extreme resistance to high temperatures and excellent moisture tolerance. Solvay specialty polymers offer exceptional sterilization resilience as well as chemical resistance to offer reusable surgical instrument plastics the ability to undergo over 1,000 cycles of steam sterilization or autoclaving without any significant loss of performance properties. Additionally, in single-use applications, Solvay’s high-quality thermoplastics are gamma stabilized, which makes them compatible with high-energy bulk gamma radiation and facilitates cost-effective disinfection methods and a faster turnaround to market.


Outstanding Strength and Mechanical Performance

Modern surgical instruments require plastics with outstanding strength and rigidity, as well as superb mechanical performance to compete with and surpass conventional metals. Plastic surgical instruments must retain their toughness to provide reliable, precise handling during repetitive use and high-pressure surgical processes. Solvay’s advanced specialty polymers provide both single-use and reusable surgical instruments with extremely high tensile and flexural strength to enable excellent rigidity and resistance to mechanical stresses. These high-performance medical grade resins maintain their durability and impact strength throughout rigorous surgical procedures and prolonged exposure to chemicals or high-temperature steam sterilization methods.


Glass Fiber-Reinforced Technology

Glass fiber-reinforced specialty polymers replace metal in modern healthcare devices for the production of lighter weight surgical instruments with comparable or better resistance to mechanical stress. Solvay offers a range of specialty polymers in glass-fiber reinforced grades to empower an array of applications with improved stiffness, rigidity and strength. These grades are excellent choices for instruments that require an extensive range of performance and superior wear resistance in more severe environments. 


Learn how Solvay specialty polymers help meet the needs of surgical instruments in the healthcare industry.