DOI: 10.1177/20412479231200317 ISSN:

Sustainable polymers targeted at the surgical and otolaryngological applications: Circularity and future

Przemysław Gnatowski, Justyna Kucińska-Lipka
  • Polymers and Plastics

The ongoing climate changes, high air and noise pollution have significant impact on humans’ health. This influence is especially visible in otolaryngology, which focuses on respiratory and hearing systems disfunctions. However, even though surgeries are done in response to diseases related to climate changes, they also have a negative impact on the environment, mostly connected with the inherence of single-use fossil fuel derived polymers. This leads to a self-perpetuating emission of greenhouse gases, as human beings developed a lot of synthetic materials to combat climate change derived dysfunctions, which itself endangers human health in a chaotic circular chain. Mitigating issues arising from using synthetic plastics would be possible by imparting biodegradable polymers from renewable resources. Nowadays, sustainable polymers are adopted mostly in emerging fields of medicine, such as 3D printing, tissue engineering of drug delivery systems. Sustainable polymers are particularly useful in otolaryngology, e.g., in the form of nasal drug eluting stents or bone substitutions. Nevertheless, some limitations in wider usage of renewable polymers in surgery should also be underlined, mainly related to lack of legislation, clinical considerations, and also inadequate materials’ circularity. Herein we briefly overviewed commonly used polymers in general surgery and otolaryngology, defined the trends in sustainable polymer usage in these fields, and highlighted the limitations in renewable polymers applications together with possible solutions. What this short review emphasizes, is that the significant increase in interest and demand for sustainable solutions will revolutionize the future of clinical treatments, where contribution to climate change and waste management will be centered in decision making protocols.

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