‘Smart Bandage’ Detects Bedsores Before They Are Visible To Doctors
UC Berkeley News reports on the "smart bandage," a device in development by a team of surgeons and scientists at UCSF and UC Berkeley that uses electrical currents to detect early tissue damage from pressure ulcers, or bedsores, well before they are visible to the human eye. The technology offers the possibility of early intervention to prevent progression of the wound. David M. Young, MD, Professor in the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, is leading the clinical development of the technology.
Engineers at UC Berkeley are developing a new type of bandage that does far more than stanch the bleeding from a paper cut or scraped knee. Associate Professor Michel Maharbiz explains how the smart bandage works to detect bedsores.
Thanks to advances in flexible electronics, the researchers, in collaboration with colleagues at UC San Francisco, have created a new “smart bandage” that uses electrical currents to detect early tissue damage from pressure ulcers, or bedsores, before they can be seen by human eyes – and while recovery is still possible.
“We set out to create a type of bandage that could detect bedsores as they are forming, before the damage reaches the surface of the skin,” said Michel Maharbiz, a UC Berkeley associate professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences and head of the smart-bandage project. “We can imagine this being carried by a nurse for spot-checking target areas on a patient, or it could be incorporated into a wound dressing to regularly monitor how it’s healing.”
(UC Berkeley video by Roxanne Makasdjian and Phil Ebiner)
“By the time you see signs of a bedsore on the surface of the skin, it’s usually too late,” said Dr. Michael Harrison, a professor of surgery at UCSF and a co-investigator of the study. “This bandage could provide an easy early-warning system that would allow intervention before the injury is permanent. If you can detect bedsores early on, the solution is easy. Just take the pressure off.”