Custom printed bandages

Medical assistant changes the dressing of a wound at the emergency room. 3D printing bandage concept

Bandages are a part of health care that almost everyone is familiar with. From the type that you get at the drug store to cover cuts and scrapes, to the more sophisticated versions that hospitals use for more serious injuries, bandages are the most common medical devices that people use. Now, according to 3D Printing Progress, the technology of 3D printing has taken the simple bandage to the next level.

Jonathon Gerstenhaber, a bioengineering professor at Temple University, was working on 3D-printed jaws and dental implants when he hit on the idea of a 3D-printed bandage that would not only perfectly cover a more serious wound, customized for the individual patient, but would also help regenerate human skin.

The 3D printing technique involves something called “electrospinning,” which creates a bandage made from a soy protein that helps skin regenerate faster. The printer creates a bandage that custom fits to an individual’s body so that it behaves like a second skin, moving smoothly and comfortably. Gerstenhaber and his team are especially interested in using the new technique for burn patients, who have special difficulties healing after an injury.

The 3D printer that creates the organic-based bandage will come in a full-sized version and a handheld version. A handheld 3D printer can help a health care professional apply a bandage directly to the wound. The full-sized version would spin out bandages that can be laid across more serious injuries. The 3D printing of custom-made bandages will require a time-consuming process that scans the site of the injuries before being spun and then applied.

The technique of custom printing bandages that are designed to help the human body heal itself promises to be an advance that will help patients recover from wounds more quickly and more thoroughly when it is made available in a clinical setting.