Hydrogel Burn Dressing – A New and Painless Solution for Treating Second-Degree Burns

Patients with second-degree burns experience immense pain daily during the long hours of re-bandaging. The pain is even more severe in case of third degree burns where nerves are burnt away. A revolutionary solution has been brought to this by Boston University’s Grinstaff Group, a team of postdoctoral and PhD students pursuing biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering, pharmacology and chemistry.

They have developed the hydrogel burn dressing, which is a gel-like solution that keeps the wound moist, serves as a barrier against infection, and can be painlessly washed away using a specific solution before re-bandaging.

Mark Grinstaff, Distinguished Professor of Translational Research at Boston University College of Engineering says that his team pursues to solve real-world issues with the biggest needs and where today’s advancements do not work well.

The hydrogel dressing developed by them not only spares the burn victims’ pain, but also saves the long-hours spent by the medical staff on re-bandaging. Further, it also eliminates the need for anesthetizing young patients who will not be able to sit still through the painful process.

The concept of hydrogel dressing is the result of a meaningful interaction of the Grinstaff Group with the medical doctors. For developing the new burn dressing, the team brought together expertise in chemistry and physiological lab testing on small animals.

At present, the researchers have understood the material and have demonstrated that it performs well on small animals. The next step would be to test it on larger animals. If the testing on larger animals works equally well, they would proceed into a clinical setting and into finding a way for manufacturing hydrogel dressing.

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