When a wound heals, the skin only returns to 70% of it’s previous strength. However, the growing capabilities of medical science means that there have been some interesting developments in the last few years, that can only help raise these current healing rates. The wound care market is expanding along with the advancement in technology and innovation that drives the industry. The aim is to improve the healing of wounds and promote skin health. If a wound heals quicker than it would normally do, the level of distress or discomfort is reduced significantly. Here are three incredibly interesting advancements that could really make a difference to people’s lives.
4D printing technology can completely revolutionise care, making wounds easier to treat, especially in more serious cases. Scientists have now developed 4D printed objects from hydrogels that have the ability to change shape and grow, after taking inspiration from the way that calla lilies and orchids twist and bend. These 4D structures can then be filled with living cells that will create tissue structure and integrate straight into the wound. This can help to improve healing time, and also means that bandages can be specifically tailored to body parts and shapes.
Stem Cell Dressings
Research is still ongoing on Stem Cell Dressings, however, researchers at Newcastle University in the U.K. have found that they greatly improve healing time and results, particularly for pressure ulcers and severe burns. The stem cells are suspended in an alginate dressing, which makes them more adaptable to the wound, and they also have a time-released schedule. The bandages can also be stored at really low temperatures. It is a simple way of preserving human-adipose stem cells, extending their viability. Researchers even hope that these bandages will be available to the public.
Crab Shell Bandages
Alginate, which has been derived from seaweed has been used for a long time to create incredibly effective bandages. The Department of Fiber Science and Technology at the University of Boston however have created bandages made from crab shells. It uses chitosan, which is a mineral found in the shells of crustaceans. It has fibers that are strong enough to be used in wound dressing. The powerful antimicrobial agents in the chitosan help wounds to heal quickly, also killing of several different strains of bacteria. Interestingly, crab shells have been used in Chinese medicine for hundreds of years in the form of an ointment.
These cutting edge developments in wound care can help to end the suffering of those with chronic wounds. In particular those dressings taking inspiration from nature, seem to be driving innovations forward, showing that scientists continue to learn from the world around us.