Medical fabric is originated by the application of medical science to textiles technology. It is also known as healthcare fabric, used essentially for medical or healthcare purpose. Demand for latest technologies is on an upsurge due to the growth in the economies of countries, increase in population, rise in standard of living and income, expansion of industries, and evolving medical science. Development of latest technologically advanced fabrics has led to identification of new areas of application of the product. Medical fabric is one of the rapidly growing segments in the technical fabrics market.
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Medical fabric, as its name suggests, has its chief applications in the medical and healthcare sector, wherein it is used for wound care, chronic wound prevention, blood flow prevention, bandages, and for wound dressing. The product is also used for wipes, baby and adult diapers, adult sanitary products, operating gowns, operating drapes, sterilization packs, sutures, and orthopedic pads. Medical fabric is inexpensive and can be reused. Therefore, there is significant demand for it in the global market. The medical fabric market in India is expected to grow at a rate of 20% to US$ 1,039 Mn in 2016-2017, as per estimates of the Working Group on Textiles and Jute Industry, Ministry of Textiles, Government of India.
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Based on product type, the medical fabric market can be segmented into commodity fiber and specialty fiber. Commodity fiber include natural and synthetic fibers such as cotton, silk, viscose, polyester, polypropylene, and others. Specialty fibers comprise collagen, chitin, chitosan, calcium alginate, and others. The commodity fiber segment accounts for the key share of the medical fabrics market. Cotton is the maximum used form of medical fabric in the healthcare and medical sector.
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Based on application, the medical fabric market can be segmented into implantable material, non-implantable material, extracorporeal devices, and healthcare/hygiene products. The non-implantable material is applied in wound dressing, bandages, plasters, etc. that are used on the external parts of the body. The implantable material consists of suture, vascular grafts, artificial ligaments, and artificial joints. Extracorporeal devices are those in which medical fabrics are used such as artificial kidney, liver, lungs, etc. Healthcare/hygiene includes products used for medical or healthcare purposes such as bedding, clothing, surgical gowns, wipes, etc.
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By geography, Europe is one of the leading markets of medical fabrics. The medical and healthcare sector is booming in Europe. Development in treatment methods and medical equipment has led to constant growth of the sector in the region. Furthermore, structural changes implemented in the healthcare systems in Germany and France have propelled the medical fabrics market in the region.
Besides Germany and France, the U.K. and Italy also constitute major share of the medical fabrics market in Europe. Next to Europe, North America and Asia Pacific are the leading regions in the medical fabrics market. The healthcare and medical sectors are expanding in Asia Pacific, especially in the developing countries such as China and India. These countries have started supporting and providing various schemes in order to promote the production and consumption of medical fabrics. One such scheme offered by the Government of India is the Technology Mission on Technical Textiles wherein the Government will invest 200 crs for this particular industry. Demand for medical fabric in Middle East & Africa and Latin America region is also on the rise.
Key manufacturers operating in the medical fabrics market include Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Beiersdorf India Pvt. Ltd, Johnson & Johnson, Honeywell International, and Imedex Biomateriaux.