Prototype Electrical Technology Promotes Skin Healing, Cuts Recovery Time
Working with rodent models, engineers from University of Wisconsin-Madison have developed a new, low-cost dressing that cuts wound healing time from the normal 2 weeks to just 3 days. The device makes use of electricity, long known to accelerate skin healing, but in a more compact and efficient way than past technologies, and at levels of electrical stimulation that generate fewer unwanted side effects. Collaborator Angela Gibson, MD, PhD, FACS, professor of surgery at UW-Madison and director of wound healing services at UW Health commented “Acute and chronic wounds represent a substantial burden in healthcare worldwide. The use of electrical stimulation in wound healing is uncommon.” Results of the team’s work are reported in the journal ACS Nano.
The new technology is comprised of small electrodes applied to the injury site that are coupled to nanogenerators worn around the wearer’s torso. The nanogenerators are powered by expansion and contraction of the ribcage during breathing and deliver low-intensity electrical pulses to the site. This low-level stimulation avoids the elevated risk for cancer and cellular aging that are associated with older, high-power electrical pulses. Additionally, the newer device promotes the viability of fibroblasts and various biochemical substances that promote tissue growth. Dr. Gibson continued “The impressive results in this study represent an exciting new spin on electrical stimulation for many different wound types, given the simplicity of the design,” adding that the next steps would involve confirmation of findings in human skin models.
Read about the study.
The journal abstract may be read here.
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