Plasma, often referred to as the fourth state of matter, is an ionized or energized gas with an equal number of positive and negative charges. The gas plasma is widely used for inactivation of a wide range of microorganisms present on surgical/medical instruments. Plasma sterilizers are medical devices employed for decontamination of surgical/medical instruments used during surgical and other medical procedures.
Different types of gases such as oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen peroxide, helium, and neon are used as a source of plasma. Different plasma production methods are applied for elimination or inactivation of microorganisms. Plasma sterilization can be performed either at a low temperature or at a high temperature, depending on the requirement. Plasma sterilization facilitates the sterility assurance level (SAL) of 10–6 and this method offers high material and functional capability.
Plasma sterilization provides several advantages over traditional sterilization methods, as it is a safe, non-toxic, time-saving, more rapid, energy efficient, non-thermal method. It does not leave any chemical residues on instruments. Thus, it serves as an alternative for traditional sterilization methods such as autoclaving, gamma ray, electron beam, dry heating, and chemical method.
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The demand for plasma sterilizers is anticipated to be greatly influenced by their value-added advantages and limitations of conventional sterilization methods. The gas plasma sterilization using hydrogen peroxide facilitates sterilization at a lower temperature, which is likely to boost the demand for hydrogen peroxide plasma sterilizers for thermo-sensitive materials during the forecast period. Also, increasing use of low-temperature gas plasma sterilizers in hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers and rising demand for alternative sterilization techniques for temperature-sensitive materials are factors anticipated to drive the plasma sterilizers market in the next few years. Moreover, increase in the number of hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers in developing countries is projected to augment the plasma sterilizers market in the near future. However, inability to process liquids, powders, strong absorbers; inability to penetrate deeply into long-lumen medical devices; and small chamber size are some of the limitations of plasma sterilizers. These limitations are likely to hamper the demand for gas plasma sterilizers during the forecast period.
The global plasma sterilizers market can be broadly segmented based on temperature, source gas, and geography. Based on temperature, the market has been further segmented into low-temperature plasma sterilizers and high-temperature plasma sterilizers. Low-temperature plasma sterilizers are used in surface modification, sterilization, and decontamination applications. Low-temperature plasmas are produced under deep-vacuum (low-pressure) conditions. The low-temperature plasma sterilizers segment is projected to account for a leading market share by 2025. Based on source of gas, the plasma sterilizers market has been segmented into oxygen gas, nitrogen gas, hydrogen peroxide gas, and other inert gases. The hydrogen peroxide gas is most commonly used for sterilization of temperature-sensitive equipment. The hydrogen peroxide gas segment is projected to dominate the market between 2017 and 2025. Low-temperature plasma sterilizers that utilize hydrogen peroxide are compatible with more than 95% of medical devices and materials.
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Based on geography, the global plasma sterilizers market can be segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. North America and Europe are anticipated to dominate the global plasma sterilizers market during the forecast period, owing to well-established health care infrastructure and early adoption of new sterilization technologies in these regions. The market in Asia Pacific is projected to expand at the maximum growth rate during the forecast period, primarily due to rapid expansion of health care infrastructure in countries such as India, China, South Korea, and Malaysia; increase in the number of multinational hospital chains; and rise in the demand for low-temperature plasma sterilizers for temperature-sensitive medical devices and instruments in the region. The market in Latin America and Middle East & Africa is likely to expand at a moderate growth rate during the forecast period.
Key players operating in the global plasma sterilizers market are STERIS plc, SciCan Ltd., RENOSEM Co. Ltd., Johnson & Johnson, BIONICS SCIENTIFIC TECHNOLOGIES (P) LTD., BIOBASE Group, CISA production srl, Tuttnauer, H.W. Andersen Products Ltd., and Stericool.
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