Medical Diagnostic Adhesives: A World of Potential


When someone mentions medical adhesives often the first thought to come to mind is skin adhesion.  It’s understandable since nearly everyone has worn some type of medical adhesive product, from a simple bandage to an electrode, athletic tape, IV cover and so on. But there is a whole other world of medical adhesives that goes unnoticed by many — diagnostics.  

What exactly do we mean by medical diagnostic adhesives? Specifically, we are referring to adhesive tapes used in the construction or assembly of in-vitro diagnostic devices. These devices are used either by consumers at home or by medical professionals to perform a series of tests or “assays” to help achieve a diagnosis.

A common diagnostic device is the at-home pregnancy test. The user places the sampling end of the device in the urine stream, waits a few minutes and obtains a result (diagnosis). Another widely used example is a blood glucose test, or diabetic test strips. Approximately 17 billion test strips were used in North America in 2020. And with an average pharmacy price per strip of $1.50, revenues from blood glucose testing strips alone are greater than several skin adhesive markets combined. 

In addition to home applications, there are endless diagnostic applications that take place behind the scenes. For example, COVID-19 tests and blood samples from patient blood draws. These specimens are taken to a lab and placed onto a device where a series of assay’s occur and report the result or diagnosis. Through the analyzation of blood, saliva, urine or tissue, there are hundreds of tests that can be performed to provide insight into bodily function or presence of disease. Diagnoses can range from drug screening to cancer detection. 


Several different types of diagnostic devices vary in size, functionality and complexity – and nearly all utilize adhesives in some manner. Examples include:

  1. Urinalysis strips
  2. Lateral flow devices – pregnancy tests
  3. Micro-fluidic devices – blood glucose, blood testing
  4. Micro-titer plates – used in drug discovery, lab work
  5. Microwells – Microbial and pathogen detection
  6. Microarray – Genetic analysis
  7. PCR (polymerase chain reaction) – DNA amplification

Although each type of diagnostic device is unique in its workings, when it comes to adhesive requirements, they share many similarities.

Learn more about medical diagnostic adhesives!