If you have ever had to wear a bandage then you know the problem with them falling off. When using 3D printing you do not have this problem. 3D bandages are printed directly onto the person’s skin.
Jonathan Gerstenhaber a professor in bioengineering at Temple University worked with his colleagues to create the 3D printer that prints the bandages. He received the inspiration for his printer from a presentation by Bioengineering Department Chair Peter Lelkes. Professor Lelkes was working on bone regeneration. The regeneration used cytosine which is one of the bases of DNA.
The printer uses the technique of electrospinning to print these bandaged directly on the skin of patients. It covers the wound, does not fall off, and helps the wound to heal faster. The printer creates a fabric which is similar to felt. It uses soy proteins to create the individual fibers of the bandage. These fibers are much thinner than a hair.
The technology of electrospinning is a method that is used to produce polymer fiber. This fiber is a synthetic material.
Idea and Working Process
The presentation made Gerstenhaber think about how dental and jaw implants could be individualized. Most implants are flat or round because of the limitations of the tools available. This idea took root and Gerstenhaber started working on a bandage that was flexible and regenerate the skin.
The bandages created by Gerstenhaber are being tested by other scientists who are helping with the research. The bandages are applied with water and stick to the skin. The bandages which are white are almost invisible. The bandages move with the skin when the patients move.
The types of wounds that would be helped most by these 3D bandages are burns and other slow healing wounds. A smaller handheld version of the printer has already been developed. While it has not moved to production the Professor hopes that the handheld printer will one day be a household staple.
Professor Gerstenhaber feels that tissue regeneration is the solution for wounds to be able to heal. He states that it is the best gift he can give.