Researchers from the Technion have developed a band-aid that can close the incision itself and also speed up and monitor the healing process.
Imagine surgery without stitches, without pins and without gluing, using a smart plaster that not only closes the surgical incision but also monitors its condition and accelerates its healing. What’s more, this plaster is attached to the skin before surgery and is what helps to attach the two sides of the incision to each other. A study published in the journal Advanced Materials presented the unique plaster, which provides ongoing information about the condition of the tissue during and after surgery.
Conventional method surgery is based on cutting the tissue, performing the required operations and re-closing the injured tissue. This closure is done in invasive ways such as suturing and attaching with pins, which also damage the healthy tissue around the rupture and often create new complications. The follow-up of tissue restoration is also very limited, since if the surgery is in an internal organ it is difficult to follow, and even if it is not internal, any assessment of the condition requires removal of the dressing, which opens up the possibility of contamination of the site. Finally, the assessment of the condition of the tissue in the various stages after surgery is done in a visual way – the doctor’s gaze – which of course has a subjective element and it can not accurately assess the rate of healing and not detect invisible inflammation. The new band-aid developed by Prof. Hossam Hayek and Associate Professor Ning Tang of the Wolfson Faculty of Chemical Engineering is expected to overcome all of these problems.
“The technology we have developed will in many cases obviate the need for pins, stitches and regular dressing,” explains Prof. Hayek. “The smart bandage includes a polymer substrate that includes an array of sensitive sensors to monitor chemical and physical indices in the wound environment. Both the polymer substrate and the sensors have the ability to self-heal after tearing or cutting. The smart bandage is glued to the tissue before cutting Without the need for external technical aids, pulling the two sides of the cut plaster back to each other returns it to its original position within a few seconds. The biological of the incision is perfect. ”
According to Prof. Hayek, “We estimate that in the first stage the system will be introduced to hospitals for the benefit of optimizing surgical procedures, but the smart band-aid can already be used by private individuals interested in the benefits it provides – a sensor array that monitors the wound, the infections and the healing process. It is estimated and hoped that it will soon be available in stores such as pharmacies and will improve the quality of human life. ”
During all stages of surgery and healing, the sensors of the smart band-aid monitor continuously adhering tissue, essential physiological indicators including temperature, pH and glucose levels. These indices provide an indication of the healing state of the connective tissue, potential involvement of infections, development of physiological disorders, and so on. According to Prof. Hayek, “Contrary to the current visual assessment, the smart band-aid will provide the doctor with a kind of ‘chemical eye’ to monitor the tissue without the need to remove the dressing.”
The various physiological data are transmitted by the band-aid via a smartphone to the treatment team, which receives a detailed and objective snapshot without having to reveal the incision. What’s more, the plaster releases antibacterial substances that accelerate rehabilitation.
Prof. Hossam Hayek
The idea of a self-healing artificial electronic sheet has been demonstrated in previous studies in Prof. Hayek’s laboratories, which have demonstrated impressive success in the development of such sheets and in applications related to the fields of robotics and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. However, in the new study, the researchers were required to develop new functional materials for the assembly of the sheet because here an adjustment for continuous attachment to biological tissue is required.
In laboratory and animal tissue experiments, the researchers showed that the system manages to heal the cut tissue with an efficiency similar to that which stitches with sutures or biological adhesives, but unlike the traditional way does so without using external aids and without leaving marks after surgery, as in suture healing. Animal experiments have shown that the system does provide a continuous and accurate update regarding the biochemical markers of the tissue in the healing process and accelerates recovery. According to Prof. Hayek, “The new technology expresses a new approach to making and healing incisions during surgery and enables monitoring during recovery – which is crucial given that wounds in the healing process, and even closed wounds, are prone to pathogens such as bacteria. “In addition, the new technology can help heal various wounds and cuts and chronic wounds that do not heal on their own.”