Researchers at Northwestern University have pioneered a small, flexible, stretchable bandage that gently wraps around an injured site to speed healing by delivering electrical therapy directly to the site. It is the first bioabsorbable bandage capable of delivering electrotherapy and the first example of a smart regenerative system. The study was published online on the 22nd in the journal Science Advances.
Ulcers in people with diabetes can lead to various complications, including amputation and even death. In one animal study, the new bandage healed diabetic ulcers 30 percent faster than mice that didn’t use the bandage. The bandage also actively monitors the healing process, and the electrodes and all materials are harmlessly dissolved into the body when it is no longer needed. In the future, the new device could provide diabetic patients with a powerful treatment tool.
The researchers said that the new bandage is cost-effective, easy to use, good fit, and comfortable, and can effectively promote wound healing and prevent the progress of infection and complications.
One side of the Smart Regenerative System contains two electrodes: a tiny flower-shaped electrode that sits just above the wound bed, and a ring-shaped electrode that sits on healthy tissue and surrounds the entire wound. The device includes sensors that assess wound healing, and by measuring the electrical resistance of the wound, doctors can monitor healing progress.
Although this is an electronic device, the active ingredient in contact with the wound bed is fully resorbable, the researchers said. Therefore, these materials disappear naturally after the healing process is complete, thus avoiding any damage to the tissue.