Invented in 1920, plasters, also known as adhesive bandages, have certainly come a long way from safely covering our wounds, ensuring they heal in their own time, and keeping any microbes away. Fast forward a couple of years later and now bandages are transforming and innovating into electric bandages, all so that your wounds heal and close up faster.
How does an electric bandage work?
Scientists have known for a while that electricity can powerfully speed up the skin healing process than having to rely on the old traditional way of waiting for scars to repair themselves. Sure our skin has some remarkable capabilities of generating new tissue and healing over time, but if you’re badly injured, that can sometimes leave a scar.
Scientists in the US and China developed the self-powered electric bandage that is powered through energy produced by skin movements to generate electrical currents that stimulate healing.
The wearable bandage is made up of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), copper foil, and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and is hard-wired so that a patient can wear it around their torso, enabling the energy caused through breathing or body movement to move to the affected area and heal it.
How effective is it?
Scientists tested the bandages by placing them on the back of wounded rats and witnessed scarring tissues heal up in as little as three days than the average twelve days it takes naturally. Not only did the electric bandage accelerate healing when looking at it under a microscope, but also showed a substantial decrease in bacteria whilst minimizing infection. The fact that something like a bandage is transforming after 2,500 years demonstrates just how far innovation in healthcare is effective in solving problems and treating wounds, especially when it comes down to deep scars that patients would like to avoid when faced with serious injuries.
What does this mean for the future of healthcare?
Other than dressing wounds, doctors are planning to see if the bandages can be placed inside the body rather than the outer skin. The next goal is to produce materials embedded with robust hydrogel that can cure internal damage and, in this case, the biggest goal is to reach neural networks in the brain.
As innovation heightens so will solutions in healthcare especially when developing materials that could cure and treat the most sensitive impairments and injuries faced by patients today. With more knowledge in this field, making use of electricity and the existing technologies can significantly accelerate healing processes.