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Hydrogel Promotes Wound Healing Better Than Traditional Bandages, Gauzes

For explosion wounds as well as some incurred in disasters and accidents, severe hemorrhage is a leading cause of death. Hydrogel dressings, which have advanced in recent years, may help; they are good at promoting wound healing and can better meet the demands of different situations. Many are antibacterial, biodegradable, responsive, and injectable and can fill irregularly shaped wounds.

The widespread use of high-speed and high-energy weapons in modern warfare has led to an increasing incidence of explosive injuries. For such wounds as well as those incurred in disasters and accidents, severe hemorrhage is the leading cause of death.

In APL Bioengineering, by AIP Publishing, researchers from the Southern University of Science and Technology in China examine the advances in hydrogel dressings in recent years, which are good at promoting wound healing and can better meet the demands of different situations.

“With the rapid developments of material science, there are numerous highly efficient wound dressings being developed,” said author Decheng Wu.


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While bandages and gauzes are effective in controlling hemorrhage, they have various limitations. They are not biodegradable and are susceptible to infection and unsuitable for irregularly shaped wounds. They might also cause secondary tissue damage and are almost ineffective for wound healing.

Many hydrogel wound dressings are antibacterial, biodegradable, responsive, and injectable. Conventional dressings, in contrast, have a single function, making them less effective for wound treatment.

Hydrogel is a 3D network that is composed of hydrophilic polymers, which can absorb and swell in water. Hydrogels can be prepared by different cross-linking strategies, and they are classified in different ways based on their constitutes.

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Polysaccharide-based hydrogels are biocompatible, biodegradable, and nontoxic. In contrast, synthetic polymer-based hydrogels are more easily modified and have better mechanical strength.

When used as a wound dressing, hydrogel not only forms a physical barrier and removes excess exudate but also provides a moisture environment that promotes the wound healing process. Additionally, hydrogel can perfectly fill irregularly shaped wounds and deal with deep bleeding efficiently.


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The poor mechanical strength of existing hydrogel dressings limits their applications in the treatment of massive bleeding, such as arterial ruptures, since they cannot provide effective protection for the wound to prevent secondary damage. Consequently, the researchers will focus future research on developing hydrogel dressings with high mechanical strength so these dressings could help with fatal severe hemorrhage.

“Hydrogels are a kind of superior material,” said Wu. “In my opinion, high-performance hydrogels also have potential in the field of tissue engineering to replace some tissues that can self-heal and regenerate, such as annulus fibrosus, meniscus, and cornea.”

Source

American Institute of Physics

Journal Reference

Recent advances on polymeric hydrogels as wound dressings

ABSTRACT
Severe hemorrhage is a leading cause of high mortality in critical situations like disaster, accidents, and warfare. The resulting wounds could induce severe physical and psychological trauma to patients and also bring an immense socio-economic burden.

Hence, rapid hemostasis and wound healing techniques have become critical initiatives for life-saving treatment. Although traditional methods relying on bandages and gauzes are effective in controlling hemorrhage, they suffer from several limitations: nonbiodegradability, being susceptible to infection, being unsuitable for the irregular wound, secondary tissue damage, and being almost ineffective for wound healing.


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Owing to the merits of high porosity, good biocompatibility, tunable physicochemical properties, and being beneficial for wound healing, hydrogels with excellent performance have drawn intensive attention and numerous novel effective hydrogel dressings have been widely developed.

In this Review, after introducing some commonly used strategies for the synthesis of hydrogels, the most recent progress on polymer-based hydrogels as wound dressings is discussed. Particularly, their hemostasis, antibacterial, and biodegradation properties are introduced. Finally, challenges and future perspectives about the development of hydrogels for wound dressings are outlined.

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