[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Scientists are testing the band-aid of tomorrow made of biodegradable nanofibers. Researchers at the University of Maryland have developed a way to apply successive 370 nanometer-wide layers of fibers with a standard airbrush machine to produce a biodegradable mat that closes and protects wounds. Unlike traditional surgical methods and dressings, this spray-able bandage fully covers any shape wound and closes incisions without sutures.
They have used these nanofiber pads to seal diaphragmatic hernias and surgical incisions in the lung, intestines and liver of pigs. Normal cells sprayed with the nanofibers showed no changes after 24 hours and the mats degraded completely in 42 days. Prototypes are undergoing safety evaluations and scientists expect surgical trials with laboratory animals will begin soon (http://www.theverge.com/2014/3/28/5557332/nanofiber-bandages-could-safely-seal-your-next-wound).
The traditional method of producing nanofibers involves applying a high voltage electrical charge to a droplet of polymers in a process called “electrospinning”. However, this method is harmful to living tissue and impractical and potentially dangerous in a hospital setting or out-patient facility. To overcome the problem, the scientists used a biodegradable polymer, poly (lactic-co-glycolic acid), or PLGA in an acetone solvent. When applied using an airbrush, the nanofibers go on clean and the acetone evaporates before coming in contact with the skin.
Scientists are also finding ways to upgrade traditional bandages by applying an electrospun nanofiber layer on top of the basic support fabric. These nanofiber-based wound dressings (NFDs) have the potential to revolutionize current burn treatment procedures.
Standard fabric dressings cover the wound, but do not allow burns to stop bleeding or slow the production of exudate from damaged tissue. These bandages must be changed daily and accompanied with the painful washing of the burn and debridement of dead tissue. However, NFDs tested on burn patients have been shown to (http://www.fibre2fashion.com/industry-article/52/5154/medical-textiles-nanofiber-based-smart-dressings-for-burn-wounds2.asp):
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- 1. Allows the wound to stop bleeding
- 2. Absorbs exudates due to higher filtration and absorption rates
- 3. Greater bandage porosity enhances cell respiration
- 4. Facilitates full 3-dimensional covering of the wound
- 5. Accommodates topically applied antibiotics and analgesics better
- 6. Requires less frequent changing
- 7. Produces scar-free healing due to the biodegradable materials used
Scientists are testing the band-aid of tomorrow made of biodegradable nanofibers. Their findings demonstrate surgical incisions, wounds and especially burns are responding especially well. While still relatively expensive and difficult to handle in commercial manufacturing facilities, nanofiber bandages have the potential to change everything from First-Aid kits to out-patient surgical procedures and hospital trauma centers.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]