KGUN 9NewsLocal NewsUniversity of Arizona News

Actions

UA working on 'smart bandage'

Would detect infection and stimulate healing
Posted at 6:57 PM, Jun 12, 2024

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The bandage you put on a wound could be able to tell your doctor how well it’s healing—and even stimulate the wound to heal faster.

If you’re ill and you’re trying to get well, it’s important to know what your body is saying as it heals, or doesn’t heal. Now scientists at the University of Arizona are working on a sensor, about the size of a quarter that would just attach to your skin in a bandage and report to your doctor how well you are doing.

Patients can seem to be doing fine after surgery or some other wound, then suddenly they’re not fine.

“They look good on Tuesday, and then the following Tuesday, they look terrible. We have to send them to the emergency room. Sometimes they have to go to the operating room. “

So Doctor Geoffrey Gurtner and his team at the UA Med School are working on a smart bandage that can let your doctor know if an infection is growing.

Doctor Gurtner says, “It intermittently reports back into your iPhone and then to the cloud, and all that data exists out there.“

Some versions even help a wound heal faster. They give the injured spot a mild jolt of electricity that stimulates healing.

Doctor Gurtner says if a patient’s coming out of heart surgery, a smart bandage on the skin, near the incision, could warn about an infection before it spreads to the heart.

A smart bandage could catch infections diabetics often get that can lead to foot amputations.

He says the Defense Department is sponsoring the research because in future wars we may not be able to rush wounded soldiers to a well equipped hospital.

“The current thinking in the military is that that's not going to be possible in the conflicts of the future, and that there will be a period of time, five to seven days, where an injured soldier will be in what's called an austere environment. And so things like this, that can actually treat and diagnose autonomously and could be carried in a field medical pack are part of what they're really targeting as the next generation of combat casualty care.”

Doctor Gurtner says the flexible electronics that make the smart bandages smart are not very expensive. He says after more testing they could be available to help you heal in two or three years. You can learn more about the smart bandage project, and how you could help with the testingby clicking this link.