Why It's Important to Choose the Right Adhesive for Stick-to-Skin Medical Devices

Why It's Important to Choose the Right Adhesive for Stick-to-Skin Medical Devices

Why It's Important to Choose the Right Adhesive for Stick-to-Skin Medical Devices

Producers of stick-to-skin medical devices have to make a lot of choices as they work to bring products from design concept to commercial production. But one of the most important decisions involves your choice of adhesive material. 

Because the adhesive you use has a direct impact on patient comfort and product performance, it’s critical you weigh your options carefully and find a partner that can help guide your selection. 

Here are some of the considerations in choosing stick-to-skin adhesive materials and how the right medical converting partner can help improve product design.

How Does the Adhesive Manage Moisture?

The most important factor for medical wearable devices is moisture management. Adhesive materials have a variety of ways to manage bodily fluids like sweat, oil, blood and others. 

The two most common forms of moisture management are 

  • Fluid absorption (where the adhesive actually takes on the moisture and holds it away from the skin) . 
  • Moisture-vapor transmission (where tiny holes in the adhesive material allow moisture to evaporate). 

Both kinds of materials have advantages for different applications.

But you need to consider the design and construction of the entire device. A breathable adhesive that allows fluids to evaporate won’t be suitable if materials in outer layers of the product prevent moisture transmission. 

Is the Adhesive Material Skin-friendly?

It’s an issue faced by every producer of stick-to-skin medical devices: The adhesive needs to be strong enough to stay securely fixed as the patient moves, but it also needs to limit skin irritation as much as possible. 

This is particularly important for devices designed for patients who may have more sensitive skin or where maceration is of particular concern.

Using 2-in-1 products can help solve this problem as they feature different adhesive materials for the skin-contact layer and construction layer, or tie-layer. 

However, you’ll need to make sure these materials work in harmony as different adhesives can sometimes be incompatible. 

Does the Adhesive Offer Optical Clarity?

Do medical professionals need to be able to visually inspect the application site without fully removing the device? 

If so, you’ll need an adhesive that offers visual clarity while maintaining the integrity of the device. 

This is also important in situations where light sensing is required. Medical converters can make suggestions for adhesives that offer both strength and visual clarity.

How Long Is the Wear Time?

Is the product designed for long wear times (up to three weeks) or short-term use (less than 30 minutes)? 

The longevity of the finished product is directly tied to your adhesive selection, making the material you choose a critical component of the product’s end use. Engineers and converters should collaborate to select adhesive materials that match the intended wear time.

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