Specialty Polymers for Surgical Devices

With over 30 years of experience as a leading materials supplier to the healthcare industry, Solvay continues to provide sophisticated, reliable, high-performance specialty polymers for surgical instruments and sterilization cases and trays. To meet the demands of the industry, Solvay’s medical grade plastics provide OEMs with cost-effective metal alternatives that offer exceptional impact strength, heat tolerance, stiffness and sterilization compatibility for a variety of surgical applications. 

Our broad portfolio of versatile specialty polymers facilitates excellent design flexibility and ease of processing in molding, extrusion and thermoforming. Solvay’s sophisticated materials provide applications with an aesthetically smooth surface finish, transparent and opaque grades and colorability for specialized branding or organization methods. Additionally, Solvay’s array of biocompatible materials for surgical instruments are engineered to provide single use instruments, reusable instruments, cases and trays with high impact strength, extraordinary mechanical performance, outstanding chemical resistance and flexible customization.

Solvay’s line of specialty polymers for surgical devices meets and exceeds our partners’ highest standards for safety and quality. All of these medical-grade polymers are thoroughly tested for biocompatibility under ISO 10993:1 and demonstrate no evidence of cytotoxicity, sensitization, intracutaneous reactivity or acute systemic toxicity. Our high-quality polymers retain their excellent performance properties and reliability through all conventional sterilization methods, including steam, ethylene oxide, vaporized hydrogen peroxide and gamma radiation: Impact strength • High strength and stiffness • Low dielectric constant • Excellent sterilization and disinfectant compatibility.

This line of high-performance plastics for surgical devices provides certified, reliable materials for a variety of applications, including handles, knobs, grips, trials, cases, trays, forceps, inserters, retractors, extractors, lids and surgery kits.

 

Performance Comparison

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Single Use Surgical Device Thermoplastics

The tensile strength and ergonomic properties of Ixef® PARA (polyarylamide) and Udel® PSU (polysulfone) make them outstanding choices for single use instrument materials. Ixef® PARA and Udel® PSU exhibit extremely impressive mechanical performance and are compatible with cost-effective steam sterilization methods. These specialty polymers are utilized in an array of single use surgical instruments, such as curettes, inserters, needle holders, forceps, lids and surgery kits. 

 

Reusable Surgical Device Thermoplastics

Solvay’s specialty polymers for reusable instruments include Radel® PPSU (polyphenylsulfone), AvaSpire® PAEK (polyaryletherketone) and KetaSpire® PEEK (polyetheretherketone). These high-performance medical-grade polymers offer unparalleled strength and toughness combined with high-temperature tolerance and chemical resistance to support surgical instruments that require repeat use and repeat-cycle steam sterilization. Radel® PPSU, AvaSpire® PAEK and KetaSpire® PEEK are resiliently capable of withstanding repetitive use and sterilization methods without any significant loss of physical or mechanical properties. Solvay offers these materials for reusable plastic surgical instruments such as handles, knobs, grips, trials, cases, trays, and retractors.

 

Extraordinary Strength and Stiffness

Both single use and reusable plastic instruments, cases and trays require superb strength and rigidity to compete with and outperform traditional metallic applications. The tensile strength of Ixef® PARA mimics that of cast metals and alloys, which makes it an ideal polymer for single use, plastic surgical instruments such as inserters, forceps, retractors and extractors. Both Radel® PPSU and AvaSpire® PAEK provide reusable surgical instruments with unparalleled stiffness and strength that elongate finished-product life and enhance performance. 

 

Superior Sterilization Compatibility

Solvay specialty polymers for surgical devices are examined for gamma sterilization compatibility under USP Class VI testing and compatible with a wide range of applicable steam sterilization methods. Ixef® PARA is compatible with high-energy, bulk gamma sterilization which reduces cost and offers a quick turnaround to market. Additionally, polymer instruments made with Radel® PPSU and Udel® PSU can withstand repeat-cycle steam sterilization due to their high-temperature tolerance and excellent hydrolytic stability.

 

Excellent Chemical Resistance

Surgical instruments demand chemically resistant materials to withstand the harsh environments during washing and disinfecting processes prior to autoclaving. Solvay’s steam sterilizable plastics have superior chemical properties and retain their high-performance capabilities after disinfection. Radel® PPSU and AvaSpire® PAEK provide reusable sterilizable instruments with superior chemical resistance and maintain their physical properties and mechanical performance through repeat-chemical exposure. 

 

Colorability And Customization

Solvay’s specialty plastics for medical devices and instruments are available in several colors and grades, which facilitates an array of unique branding opportunities and organization methods. Radel® PPSU exists in a wide range of both transparent and opaque colors. Ixef® PARA is available in a multitude of gamma-stabilized colors, which simplifies the differentiation of single use surgical instruments in spinal surgery kits. Additionally, AvaSpire® PAEK combines excellent aesthetics and colorability to allow for ample customization and a variety of high-performance grades.