Electrical bandage powered by normal body movement zaps wounds

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Researchers have created a bandagelike device that can seal up wounds in a revolutionary way.

This device could be the next big thing in modern medicine when it comes to healing acute and chronic wounds.

We have electric cars, razors and now an electric bandage? Researchers at the University of Wisconsin have developed an electrode-dressed bandage to help the body heal itself. Electrical currents are created when the body moves.

"We use that body-generated electricity to help the wound recovery," engineering professor Dr. Xudong Wang said.

"You just apply some pressure to the device and it could generate electricity," Ph.D. student Jun Li said.

Those pulses of electricity stimulate cell regeneration and speed up the healing process at the wounded area. When the device was tested on rats, Wang was shocked by the results.

"Usually this wound will recover in two weeks, and our device helped the wounded recover in three days with minimal formation of scars," Wang said.

The idea to use electricity to heal wounds is not exactly new. There are large devices that treat patients with chronic wounds, but patients can only get them at the hospital.

Wang believes his technology can have big implications.

"We can make treatment become a daily normal treatment, just like using a bandage from the grocery store. So people can handle that all by themselves," he said.

It is creating bonds that heal.

The researchers' next step is to test the device on larger animals, like pigs, and then human skin.

Right now, the device can only treat acute, fresh wounds, but Wang is looking to work on hard-to-treat wounds, such as chronic wounds and burn wounds.

REPORT: MB #4625

BACKGROUND: There are many common types of chronic wounds. A venous stasis ulcer drains heavily, is irregular in shape and is often painful. Venous stasis ulcers occur in the lower leg between the ankle and the knee. An arterial ulcer is a round-shaped wound caused by impaired circulation and is often seen on the legs or feet. It will likely have even margins or edges. A diabetic ulcer is a wound that occurs on the foot, heel or toes of diabetics. Often there is little or no feeling in the feet or in the ulcer itself. A pressure ulcer is caused by prolonged sitting or lying in one position long enough to damage the skin. The ulcer may be very painful and may drain a little or a large amount. They commonly develop on the tailbone, heels, elbows, shoulder blades, knees, ankles, and the back of the head or the spine. Often these common wounds are easy to identify if you know what to look for, but they can be very difficult to heal. (Source: https://www.dekalbmedical.org/our-services/wound-care/chronic-wounds/types/)

TREATMENT: When it comes to chronic wounds, electrical stimulation (ES), one of several biophysical technologies, is known by those healthcare providers who employ its use to be one of the most cost effective, therapeutically efficacious tissue repair and wound healing accelerators. There are three types of electrical current that assist in wound closure and healing: direct current (DC), alternating current, and pulsed current (PC). Treatment duration for ES is typically 45-60 minutes, five to seven days per week or at least three days per week if possible. (Source: https://www.todayswoundclinic.com/e-stimulation-effective-modality-facilitate-wound-healing)

NEW TECHNOLOGY: Xudong Wang, PhD, Engineering Professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison explained how the electric bandage works, "There are two ways for the electrical potential to help the wound recover. One is the electric field can stimulate the cell regeneration. So, on the electric field, the cell can recover at a more rapid rate. And the second one is the electric field can help the fibroblast cells to align themselves along the electric field direction. So they will form a more organized framework for the cell to grow; therefore the cell can align faster and with less formation of scars." Right now, the technology works for fresh wounds, but Wang and his colleagues want to use it for chronic and burn wounds. (Source: Xudong Wang, PhD)