Smart bandages that tell doctors how a wound is healing could begin trials within the next year, researchers have announced.
The dressing would bring a personalised and intelligent approach to treatment - allowing medical staff to keep up-to-date about a patients’ progress remotely.
Developers are using a “multi-technology” approach, including nanotechnology, 5G infrastructure and 3D printing, to create an effective product while attempting to keep manufacturing costs down.
The bandage would use very small sensors to detect issues such as infection, alerting the doctor using 5G technology if such a problem arose.
Created by Swansea University, the invention is designed to detect any issues in between patient appointments where wound healing would traditionally be checked.
Prof Marc Clement, chairman of the univeristy’s Institute of Life Science (ILS), told the BBC: “5G is an opportunity to produce resilient, robust bandwidth that is always there for the purpose of healthcare.
“That intelligent dressing uses nano-technology to sense the state of that wound at any one specific time.”
The dressing could also connect to the patients’ smartphone to monitor physical activity levels, which can impact recovery speed.
“You combine all of that intelligence so the clinician knows the performance of the specific wound at any specific time and can then tailor the treatment protocol to the individual and wound in question,” Prof Clement added.
“Traditional medicine may be where a clinician might see a patient and then prescribe the treatment approach for a month or three months. What the future holds is a world where there’s the ability to vary the treatment to the individual, the lifestyle and the pattern of life.
“Sometimes we revere doctors so much that we tell them all is well but all of the evidence is there before them in this 5G world, so the clinician and patient can work together to address the challenge.”
He told The Telegraph: “This is a multi-technology approach, with nanotechnology, nanoelectronics, printing and coating biochemistry all interconnecting through 5G infrastructure to allow us tomorrow and in the future to deliver health care for a wound patient that delivers better patient outcomes and better quality of life.”
This isn’t the first smart bandage to help prevent infection. Last year, British scientists developed a bandage which turned yellow when the wound became infected. Trials for this are also underway.
What this space.