According to a recent market report from Technavio, the global medical polymers market is predicted to grow at a CAGR of over 8% from 2017 to 2021. Polymers have a wide range of applications in the medical industry, including implants, diagnostic systems, and accessories. Medical polymers are lighter in weight compared with other counterparts such as metals and are preferred for lightweight applications. Medical polymers are primarily used to produce intraocular lenses, vascular grafts, contact lenses, breast implants, facial implants, prosthetic heart valves, catheters, dental implants, and vascular skin implants. One of the latest developments in the market is the increasing demand for smart polymers in medical applications. Smart polymers act as therapeutic agents, tissue engineering scaffolds, cell culture supports, and bio-separation devices. The use of biodegradable polymers is also gaining momentum specifically in ophthalmic, cardiovascular, and drug delivery systems.
In terms of product type, the global medical polymers market is segmented into fibers and resins, medical elastomers, and biodegradable medical polymers. The fibers and resins segment occupied the largest market share in 2016, and will continue to lead the market by 2021. Polyamides, PC, polyesters, and PE are some of the prominent medical fibers and resins. Non-biodegradable medical fibers and resins are rigid plastics, including thermosets and thermoplastics. These polymers are thermally moldable and are preferred in the medical industry for their favorable properties such as lightweight.
In terms of application, the market is segmented into implants, diagnostic systems, and hospital accessories. The implants market is expected to grow steadily in the coming years because of the high demand for implants such as dental, knee, and hip. Polymers are replacing other materials such as alloys, metals, and ceramics for use as biomaterials. Polymer materials are more versatile and are used for applications such as facial prostheses, tracheal tubes, heart components, dentures, kidney and liver parts, and hip and knee joints.
In terms of geography, the market is segmented into Americas, APAC, and EMEA. The Americas is expected to grow at a fast pace during the forecast period, and will maintain its dominance in the global market. With the surge in government initiatives to improve the public healthcare systems, players in the market are projected to focus more on developing innovative products, such as temperature- and pH-sensitive polymers.
The leading players in the global medical polymers market are Celanese, Covestro, Dow Chemical, Eastman Chemical, Evonik. Other prominent players include Borealis, DSM, DuPont, ExxonMobil, Huizhou Foryou Medical Devices, Kraton Performance Polymers, and Victrex.