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Uses of surgical tubing

Updated February 21, 2017

Surgical tubing is made from latex and comes in a variety of diameters and thicknesses. While surgical tubing is designed for use in medical applications, its flexibility, gripping power and elasticity has made it popular in other applications as well. From water sports to children’s toys, surgical tubing is used for many things outside the hospital.

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The medicinal uses of surgical tubing, according to Instron, include catheters, feeding or draining tubes, irrigation during surgical procedures and tourniquets. Surgical tubing is also used in conjunction with surgical equipment, like fluid suction tools, or in drips. Surgical tubing needs to be able to withstand a variety of conditions and is one of the most durable and versatile kinds of tubings, which is why it is so popular outside of the medical field as well.


Surgical tubing is used to make homemade lures, as well as for tying and securing equipment on the boat. Because of its flexibility, surgical tubing replicates the swimming action of a fish when it is submerged; this also makes it particularly well-suited for making rubber eel lures. Usually a fishing jig head is attached to the end of the surgical tubing for a homemade lure.

Scuba Diving

Surgical tubing is in common supply at most scuba diving equipment stores. It is used primarily in the place of rope, as its elasticity and grip, coupled with its strong fastening that releases quickly, make it perfect for use in water. Surgical tubing is used to tie on extra equipment like a spare pair of goggles, a compass, pressure reader or any number of other loose items attached to scuba gear for use when diving.

Homemade Toys

Surgical tubing is popularly used to make rubber band-powered toys—while rubber bands stretch, become brittle and eventually break, surgical tubing has all of the elasticity and far less of the fragility. Rubber band-powered toy boats and cars commonly utilise surgical tubing instead. Toy catapults also utilise surgical tubing. One of the most common uses of surgical tubing in kids toys is for making sling shots. The most important aspect of the surgical tubing in this application is that it can be stretched quite extensively, yet still retain its original length when limp.

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About the Author

B.T. Alo

B.T. Alo is media director, chief writer and editor for a U.S.-based marketing and consulting firm. He holds a bachelor's degree in business and communications. Alo's interests include business, investments, electronics, personal finance, health, communication, popular trends and travel.

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