First-of-its-kind e-bandage speeds wound healing by 30%

The transient electronic bandage reduces inflammation, and dissolves into your body after use.
Kavita Verma
Electronic bandage
Electronic bandage

Norhtwestern University 

Northwestern scientists have created a groundbreaking medical device with the potential to revolutionize healing: an electrotherapy patch that accelerates wound recovery and safely self-dissolves when no longer necessary. 

This innovative bandage was tested on diabetic ulcers in animal trials, showing over 30% faster healing than untreated lesions! It could be important for people who have diabetes whose sores can lead to debilitating outcomes like having limbs amputated or even death.

Cost-effective solution for closing wounds

Guillermo A. Ameer, who co-led the study, explains that when a person develops a wound, the only aim of the doctors is to close the wound as quickly as possible. Otherwise, it would have consequences. For instance, people with diabetes are most likely to have even harder-to-treat infections.

For such patients, the need for cost-effective solutions is increasing. So, they have come up with a cost-effective bandage that is cost-effective, adaptable, easy to apply and efficient at closing wounds and helps prevent further complications. 

John A. Rogers added that even though it's an electronic device, the components that interface with the wound are resource-able. They disappear after the healing process is complete, avoiding damage to the wound and the tissue. 

Role of electrical stimulation therapy

Diabetes affects an estimated 30 million people in the United States. For many individuals, nerve damage caused by diabetes can lead to other medical issues like diabetic foot ulcers. 

These difficult-to-heal wounds are particularly dangerous due to their reduced blood circulation stemming from glucose levels that thicken capillary walls. 

Researchers have explored electrical stimulation therapy as a possible solution: Restoring the body's standard signals with electrical currents helps attract essential nutrients needed to close stubborn wounds.

Working with Rogers, Ameer sought to develop a more comfortable product for electrotherapy that could be used in the home setting. By creating an electrical environment around the wound, studies have shown cells rapidly migrate and regenerate skin tissue while subduing inflammation. 

Electric bandage can be operated remotely without wires

The researchers have developed a flexible, small bandage that can be quickly wrapped around the wound. This revolutionary system harnesses the power of two stunningly designed electrodes - a tiny flower-shaped one to rest atop wounds and an encompassing ring-shaped electrode placed on healthy tissue.

This is all powered by an energy harvesting coil that securely transfers data in real time with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. 

With these capabilities, an electronic wireless remote can easily control the device. From afar, doctors can decide when to apply the electrical stimulation and also monitor the healing process. 

After the wound is healed, the electrode dissolves in your body, avoiding the need to retrieve it. 

Future plans

The team is taking their innovative bandage for diabetic ulcers to the next level by testing on a larger animal model and eventually humans. 

Unlike traditional drugs or biologics, this bandage harnesses and speeds up natural healing processes—meaning it could go straight from the research phase to patient use much faster than usual!