New device allows dressing to be applied directly to wounds

Placing bandages or bandages directly on a wound may be difficult in some medical emergencies. The staff must handle the bandages carefully to preserve both sterility and integrity. To get around this problem, a team of bioengineers has developed a portable electrospinning device that, like a spray of paint, can spray a medical dressing directly onto a wound.

With this new technology, medical personnel can fabricate a dressing with drug delivery capabilities directly to a wound. Electrospinning is a method of developing polymer fibers for a wide variety of applications. If biocompatible materials are used, the fibers produced can be used for biomedical applications.

However, electrospinning requires very high voltages, which makes it dangerous to deposit fiber directly on biological material because of the risk of electrocution it creates.

A group of researchers at Montana Technological University has developed a portable electrospinning device with a confined electric field that can safely deposit bandages and drugs directly onto biological surfaces. The team described the instrument in the journal Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology B .

Spray dressings on the wound like a paint spray

Instead of using the difference in tension between the tool and a surface to deposit the fibers, the new device uses air to spray the fibers on the surface, in the manner of a spray paint. " In spray painting, the pressurized gas forces the particles to go to a surface, creating a kind of deposited material, " said Lane Huston, engineer at Montana Tech.

Demonstration of the dressing projection on a gloved hand, 1 min after projection (A) and 3 min after (B). Credits: Lane G. Huston et al. 2019

As with spray painting, the EStAD device is used by directing its nozzle on the desired surface during operation, which causes the deposition of a mat of fibers on this surface ."

By applying this mechanism similar to aerosol paint, the device can be used to cover wounds and allow controlled release of the drug over time. The deposited fibers adhere to materials containing internal moisture, such as human skin.

The researchers tested the dressing projection on pork skin (top) and on fruits (bottom). Fibers adhere to many types of surfaces. Credits: Lane G. Huston et al. 2019

Although the use of electrospun fibers for effective drug delivery has been established in the past, the foregoing methods required that a wound be placed directly in the path of the electric field. In this configuration, the only safe option is to pre-deposit fibers on a surface, such as parchment paper, to collect them and store them for later use.

Assist medical staff in areas inaccessible to emergency care

The device was tested on a pork skin incision as well as on a gloved human hand. This is the first demonstration of safely depositing fibers delivering the drug directly to the wound site.

The authors hope that this new technology will be used to help doctors, first responders and medical staff treat wounds in rural areas, where immediate medical care may not be readily available.

" The bandage, as well as the drug used, can be chosen on demand if the situation warrants it, thus allowing for modular and adaptable treatment of the accessible drug in isolated areas " Huston. Although the direct deposit method is its preferred application, the researchers' new device can also be used as a traditional table electrospinning device.


 Article: Combined electrostatic and air driven electrospinning for biomedical applications featured

Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology B 37, 062002 (2019);

Lane G. Hustona), Emily A. Kooistra-Manning,  Jack L. Skinner, and Jessica M. Andriolo


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