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04/18/2013

Bandage that plumps when wet

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    A parasitic worm could inspire a new type of bandage for skin grafts that will not only hold well, but will also inject drugs into the skin.
    The bandage is inspired by a small, fish-infecting worm with a spine-covered proboscis on the top of its head. When the worm infects a fish, it inserts its proboscis to the fish's intestinal wall and then plumps the proboscis with its muscles, which gives it a strong hold inside the fish.
    Taking a cue from the plumping proboscis, the new bandage will feature an array of tiny spines made from a particular mix of plastics. Stiff enough to pierce the skin when dry, the spines will plump up once the contact the water inside the skin, which will anchor them in place. The spines won't penetrate very far into the skin, so they will cause very little pain, and they will cause less trauma to the tissue than staples. In addition, the bandage will have the ability to deliver active substances, such as antibiotics or growth-promoting hormones, to the surface of the wound.
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