Paint-On Bandage Measures Oxygen Levels

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A new glowing bandage could help reduce the rates of failed tissue transplants
A new glowing bandage could help reduce the rates of failed tissue transplants

Getting transplanted tissue to behave like the original tissue isn’t always a smooth process, and one of the things physicians look out for following a procedure is how well it takes in oxygen. Wired devices called oximeters are the gold standard when it comes to monitoring this in recovering patients, but scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) may have found a better way forward in a paint-on bandage that glows in response to the levels of oxygen in the tissue.

Wired oximeters are the current go-to when it comes to monitoring tissue oxygenation, but these devices can be complex to use and are inconvenient for the patient, limiting their movement. So the MGH team sought to develop a less restrictive oxygenation sensor, which could help lower the rates of failed transplants and skin grafts.

The liquid bandage is made with phosphorescent materials that glow in colors ranging from red to green in response to certain stimuli. This prototype was tested out on five women undergoing breast reconstruction surgery, with the liquid bandage painted onto seven transplanted flaps that include skin, fat, arteries and blood vessels, in patches measuring 1 x 1 cm (0.4 x 0.4 in).