Surgical tape is used everyday at medical and nursing care sites. It is indispensable in attaching drip needles, gauze or bandage, or to protect a wound. However, the stimulation of the adhesive used in the tape, used to cause skin problems such as rough skin and/or allergies. Also, when changing the tape, peeling it off of the skin surface could cause pain and rough skin due to the excessive adhesive strength of the tape. Nitto created the first tape that demonstrated the value of “skin-friendly” to the field of surgical tape, which was a concern for those with weak skin.
The product is XTRATA. Ms. Kumagai (a WOC (Wound,Ostomy,Continence) certified nurse), who works at the “Murata-day day surgical operation WOC clinic” and has actually used it in the medical field, remembers her impression of using XTRATA for the first time.
“I used it for the first time in 1999. At that time there were a lot of skin troubles caused by adhesive plasters, so I always tried it with my own skin that was sensitive and did not use the products that were causing the problems. Hearing that this product was extremely gentle on the skin, I actually tried it and was surprised that it didn’t hurt when peeling off.”
Ms. Kumagai was surprised by the demonstration where even newspaper is not torn if XTRATA applied to it and then peeled off. When she actually used it at the medical site, the patients seemed to react as if “something amazing just happened”.
“It seems that patients were also surprised that there were such an adhesive tape. Because XTRATA hardly peels off the keratin, we can apply again, and it's not painful. Not only it made the patients happier without pain, but it was easier for us to use as well. We use XTRATA, to about 99% our patients now, and skin trouble has decreased drastically.”
As you can see, the gentleness of XTRATA on skin is gaining great praise from professionals working on the front lines in the medical industry. However, the concept of a tape that’s gentle on the skin did not exist in the market at the time XTRATA was developed. It was a new value concept and new product created by Nitto.
The Tohoku plant of Nitto located in Miyagi Prefecture is the site developing and manufacturing XTRATA. The thing that triggered research into an adhesive that is gentle on the skin was how Nitto’s unique technology linked to voices in the medical field.
In about 1996, the sanitary material development team was looking for development themes for new concepts typical of Nitto. At that time, another development team was working on transdermal medicine, and in that process they had just established an original technology for oily gel adhesive gentle to the skin. This coincidence led to the later creation of XTRATA.
Actually, in the medical field at that time, there were surgical tapes that did not use adhesive made of natural rubber which were a common cause of allergies, but skin problems were not completely eliminated. Because there were some patients suffering from skin problems due to the repeated use of tape in cases such as those undergoing dialysis. To solve this problem, could the oily gel technology developed for transdermal patches be used as a hygienic material in the medical field to solve this problem? Will it actually sell? Will we be able to make a new market? There were still doubts to market a never before seen “skin-friendly surgical tape”, and it was still a big challenge.Nitto Denko Corporation, Medical Business Div., Planning Group, Kenji Komori
In the midst of this, we gathered together the team power of Nitto, and succeeded in developing the first XTRATA Plastic over three years. After that, we continued to add to the lineup with XTRATA Nonwoven Fabric, XTRATA Alpha and XTRATA GS.
“Even though it’s an application of base adhesive technology, because the functionality required by each product differed greatly. To optimize the adhesive, a lot of investigation was carried out along with development team members. Team members worked hard and created a technology breakthrough to overcome the problem.” (Komori)
The members also worked hard on how to communicate the value of the new product that is gentle on the skin to the medical field. How it hardly damaged the keratin was made easy to understand by coloring the keratin and comparing how our product had less amount of keratin when peeled off compared to others. Creating a new market required not only the creation of a product but also the development of a method to convey its value.
So, we tried several demonstration experiments in order to show how gentle XTRATA is on the skin. Please take a look at how friendly XTRATA is to the skin.
We applied XTRATA and general surgical tape on soft toilet paper. When peeled off, you can see XTRATA hardly tears even soft, thin toilet paper.
A thin onion skin is also a perfect experimental material to mimic skin. When general surgical tape is peeled off the onion skin, a thin skin sticks to it. XTRATA peeled off easily and leaves the skin as it is. It also explains how XTRATA does not damage keratin.
When peeling off general surgical tape, the surface of the newspaper sticks to the adhesive surface, and the newspaper itself rips. On the other hand, XTRATA only adheres to the printed surface, and the paper doesn’t tear at all.
"Even now, after 20 years of it launch, everyone uses this demonstration using newspaper, to promote XTRATA.” (Komori)
Prior to commercialization, developers were concerned about whether this new product would be accepted in the market. Tapes gentle to the skin were accepted by professionals in the medical field in a way that blew away such concerns.
“At the clinical trial stage, XTRATA was used with child patients, but even with sensitive children’s skin, we heard about the pleasure that the pain was reduced remoed. We also received letters from patients receiving dialysis that told us how thankful they were that a skin friendly tape that never existed before had been developed for them. These voices encourage us a lot, and we feel this adhesive helped improve the quality of life of patients.” (Komori)
We want to reduce the pain of patients. The thought of developers have become a reality at many health care sites, nursing care workplaces, and the like. And pursuit of gentleness to the skin will continue further.
“We appreciate the patients, users, and past developers who have helped us develop XTRATA. Now that we have the baton, we want to do our best to please even more patients in the future.” (Komori)
XTRATA was made by gathering together the adhesive technology that Nitto has accumulated. Adhesive that sticks gently to the skin has brought the new value of a skin-friendly surgical tape to medical and nursing care sites. Our challenge in reducing the skin pain still continues.
*The information given in this article was current as of December 2016.