When talking of smart bandage it means a bandage works intelligently to facilitate the healing process in a wound without human necessary.
With that in mind, a group of researchers have created a special prototype bandaged designed to monitor chronic wounds in real time.
The bandage responds by releasing the appropriate drug as directed by special sensors, thereby improving the chances of healing. Tests have found the technique very successful in the clinical context, and may soon be available for public use.
While technological advancements have made healthcare more manageable in the recent years, wound treatment using bandage has not seen any upgrading until recently.
Today we have wearable devices that monitor your heart health to reduce chances of stroke, those that can monitor diabetes and so on.
Contrary to bandage technology which has remained static since the beginning of medicine. And mark you, a research published in Value reveals that treatment for chronic wound costs as high as $28 billion every year –and it affects nearly 15 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries.
Chronic skin wounds may result from a range of medical conditions, with the prominent causes being burns and diabetes. Such wounds are called chronic because they interfere with the natural regenerative capabilities of the skin tissues to heal the affected region.
A persistence of the condition may lead to amputation. Fortunately, the smart bandage concept comes in to help boost the chances of healing and thereby avoiding such invasive treatments.
The Smart Bandage Concept
By design, the smart bandage is made with a thermoresponsive drug that gets released based on the action of a heating element. It has sensors that read the pH level in the wound to deliver tailored treatment.
The simple mechanism is that the bandage works by responding to build in pH and temperature sensors. The sensors are also able to track infection and inflammation in the site.
“Thanks to flexible electronics because we’ve been able to upgrade the bandage, as it is one of the key items in treating chronic wounds,” said Sameer Sankusale Ph.D. professor of electrical and computer engineer at Tufts University.
Flexible electronics have shown great potentials in improving medical care through wearables –and the smart bandage is an additional application to what already exists, although in other forms.
Improving the Chronic Wound Healing Process
A chronic wound has special characteristics and these are what keep it from healing naturally. As such, pH is a key parameter for monitoring the healing progress. Under normal situations a natural healing wound will fall within the pH of 5.5 and 6.5, contrary to the chronic wound that will often display a pH of 6.5 and above.
The process of healing in wounds is also highly depended on temperature as this may impact the behavior of the infection and inflammation, and the reason for the heat sensors in the new smart bandage.
Sonkusale and team also developed a special sensor for oxygenation bearing the fact that oxygen is another major biomarker in the healing process of chronic wounds.
The mechanism is that these sensors act to trigger the delivery of antibiotic drugs, first, in right measures and when it is medically necessary.
The good report is that the new smart bandage has been developed and tested successfully, but in vitro conditions, and may soon be the go for solution for chronic wound treatment.