Diabetes, obesity, pressure ulcers, and age-related vascular disorders frequently induce hard wounds, and their prevalence is increasing globally. The rising financial burden of hard wounds on global health systems has driven technological development into 'smart' wound dressings that use microelectronic sensors, microprocessors, and wireless communication radios to improve wound diagnoses and therapies. The market is still in nascent stages, nonetheless, constant research is ongoing to develop smart wound dressings. Following are few examples of latest research studies:
In June 2021, researchers at Zhejiang University College of Biomedical Engineering & Instrument Science developed a smart wound dressing which is battery-free and wireless, for wound infection detection and on-demand drug delivery using flexible electronics
In June 2021, researchers at RMIT University in Australia developed a smart wound dressing that can alleviate inflammation with inbuilt nano-sensors to track the progress of healing. The multipurpose antimicrobial dressings have fluorescent sensors that flash brightly under UV light if infection starts and may be used to track healing process.
In October 2021, a team from National University of Singapore's (NUS) Department of Biomedical Engineering and Institute for Health Innovation & Technology, developed a smart wearable sensor capable of performing real-time, point-of-care evaluations of chronic wounds wirelessly through an app. Within 15 minutes, the novel sensor technology can detect pH, temperature, bacteria type, and inflammatory markers exclusive to chronic wounds, allowing for rapid and precise wound assessment.
Scientists from the Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology (IASST), an independent institute of the Department of Science and Technology of the Government of India, have invented a pH-responsive smart bandage that can deliver medication to a wound at the appropriate pH. The delivery mechanism was developed using a nanotechnology-based cotton patch made of low-cost, long-lasting materials like cotton and jute.
Thereby, surge in research and development of smart wound dressings is likely to create lucrative opportunities for the key players operating in advanced wound care market.
Furthermore, smart bandages are wound dressings that use technology to aid in the tissue restoration process. Smart bandages work by using a variety of sensors to detect, record, and manage physical and chemical elements that affect wound healing speed. Smart wound bandages may be more effective than regular bandages in helping wound care professionals plan for, diagnose, and manage acute to chronic wounds of varied etiologies.
Benefits of smart bandages over conventional bandages:
Physical and chemical conditions at the wound site are well regulated.
A useful telehealth feature that enables wound care practitioners to remotely monitor their patients' wounds.
Wound healing is improved with less tissue manipulation, lowering the risk of infection.
The collection and storage of significant wound care data assists wound care practitioners in analysing patient wound healing progress.
Researchers are developing a smart bandage that would enhance wound healing and care management by incorporating mHealth, telehealth, AI, and regenerative medicine. For instance, in March 2020, researchers from three US institutions have initiated a government sponsored initiative to develop a bandage containing mHealth sensors that might aid in the faster and more effective healing of severe wounds.
Despite smart bandage technology is still in its early phases, the wound care community is increasingly optimistic about its potential to revolutionise wound treatment. In addition, challenges persist in the areas of power supply, disposability, low-profile components, multiparametric sensing, and seamless device integration in commercialized wound dressings. Nevertheless, with a variety of possible uses, smart bandages and dressings are projected to overtake and eventually replace traditional wound dressings used in the management of acute to chronic wounds.
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