Doctors usually open the bandage to see if the wound has healed or not. But this could be risky as removing bandage may often disrupt the healing process. In a new technological development, a group of researchers have come up with a smart bandage that contains a sensor that can sensitively measure wound moisture levels and transmit the data to a nearby smartphone, without removing them.
Frontiers in Physics published the study.
HOW IT WORKS
The researchers applied a conductive polymer named poly (3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) polystyrene sulfonate (PEDOT:PSS) onto a gauze using screen printing technique and then incorporated the gauze with commercially available materials. The idea behind the smart bandage is that changes in the moisture level of the wound cause a change in an electrical signal measured by the sensor.
Dr Marta Tessarolo (University of Bologna), an author on the study noted that PEDOT:PSS is an organic semiconducting polymer that can be easily deposited on several substrates as a standard ink. “We also incorporated a cheap, disposable and bandage-compatible RFID tag, similar to those used for clothing security tags, into the textile patch. The tag can wirelessly communicate moisture level data with a smartphone, allowing healthcare staff to know when a bandage needs to be changed,” the researcher said.
They tested the bandage by exposing them to artificial wound exudate, which is the liquid that seeps from wounds. They also tested different bandage materials and shapes. They found that the bandage was highly sensitive, providing drastically different readings between dry, moist and saturated conditions, suggesting! it could be a valuable tool in wound management.
Another author Dr Luca Possanzini (University of Bologna) was quoted in the media as saying that they developed a range of bandages with various layers and different absorption properties and characteristics.
HEALING IS TRICKY
Healing chronic wounds is tricky and many factors such as temperature, glucose levels and acidity affect healing. However, one of the most important is moisture levels. Too dry and the tissue can become desiccated; too wet, and it can become white and wrinkly, as it does in the bath. Both these situations disrupt the healing process. Now, if the doctor wants to test check the moisture levels of a wound then he or she need to remove the bandage, potentially damaging the delicate healing tissue.