Medline ramps up production of Isolex™ polyisoprene with launch of new surgical gloves


Medline’s proprietary polyisoprene formulation is the key to quality. 

Isolex is Medline’s proprietary formulation of polyisoprene, a raw material used to manufacture latex-free surgical gloves. Even as the industry is transitioning away from latex, clinicians still require a glove that has the soft, comfortable fit and feel of latex, but without the danger of a type I allergic reaction. Polyisoprene is the ideal solution for bridging the gap between safety and performance in a surgical glove.

With a molecular structure virtually identical to natural rubber latex, polyisoprene is the perfect alternative to latex. Users benefit from a soft and comfortable fit and feel, great tactile sensitivity and excellent durability and strength, all without the risks associated with latex. Type I latex allergies can cause severe, sometimes life-threatening, reactions, but users and patients don’t have to worry about this when using synthetic gloves. An additional benefit of polyisoprene is even better batch-to-batch consistency when compared to latex, which helps minimise product variations and improve quality and safety. 

So what makes Medline’s proprietary polyisoprene so special? Isolex sets itself apart from the competition because it is designed primarily for use as a surgical glove material. While competitors also sell polyisoprene surgical gloves, they purchase their polyisoprene from third parties, who manufacture it for use across many industries. Because of this, other types of polyisoprene contain diphenyl guanidine (DPG), a chemical accelerator that many people are sensitive to. This accelerator can cause type IV allergic reactions like allergic contact dermatitis, which plagues its sufferers with dry, irritated hands, hindering performance and decreasing the quality of work life. Medline is happy to announce that Isolex is DPG-free; this chemical property combined with the proprietary and exclusive nature of Isolex ensures a high-quality, specialised and consistent product.

Medline gloves made with Isolex:

Isolex was the first polyisoprene on the market, and Medline’s state-of-the-art production facility in Honea Path, South Carolina, has been producing it and perfecting the craft for over 25 years. Every lot produced undergoes rigorous quality testing where properties such as tensile strength, modulus, elongation, tear, viscosity, surfactant loading and mechanical stability are analysed to demonstrate the suitability of the material prior to release. In addition to quality, Medline can also boast a vested interest in raw material manufacturing, which gives the company more control over the supply chain.

Isolex can be safely used with many chemicals, including bone cement and chemotherapy drugs, allowing these gloves to be worn in a wide range of surgeries. Medline sells them in micro, regular and ortho (thick) thickness, and also offers specialities in this line like undergloves and radiation attenuation gloves, which means this material can be used safely hospital-wide. Medline is the only company in the world selling gloves made with Isolex and is proud to call the formulation its own.

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