Healing large and complex wounds requires vigilant monitoring and frequent dressing changes. This generally means pain, might require general anesthesia, and can even be emotionally disturbing to patients. A less invasive method of wound monitoring, that lets the wounds remain undisturbed, is badly needed.
As wounds heal, the chemical composition of their environment changes. A couple of the chemicals whose concentrations vary around the wound are lactate and oxygen, so they can serve as biomarkers of wound healing. Researchers at Binghamton University have now developed a flexible electronic sensor, which looks like a bandage, that can be stuck to the skin to continuously measure these two chemicals.
The device is inspired by the nature of skin itself, mimicking the skin’s micro architecture, according to the researchers. The sensing component is made of a mesh of gold, which is flexible and can remain completely in touch with the skin it is placed over.
While only two chemicals can be measured with the device, the technology has potential to expand its capabilities to include other analytes. Moreover, these kinds of sensors may end up as parts of implantable devices that are capable of monitoring organs and their function directly from the interior of the body.
“The bio-mimicry structured sensor platform allows free mass transfer between biological tissue and bio-interfaced electronics,” said Ahyeon Koh, the lead researcher of the study, in a published statement. “Therefore, this intimately bio-integrated sensing system is capable of determining critical biochemical events while being invisible to the biological system or not evoking an inflammatory response.”
Study in journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics: Skin-inspired, open mesh electrochemical sensors for lactate and oxygen monitoring…