The overall number of orthopedic surgeries performed each year continues to grow, with more than six million procedures expected to be carried out in the US alone in 2020. As pressure continues to mount on orthopedic surgeons to manage this growing demand, the question of how to close surgical wounds most efficiently to achieve rapid healing, optimal functionality, and minimal scarring remains one of the most pressing issues for healthcare professionals.
The Biological Process of Wound Healing
Wound healing consists of three interrelated phases: inflammation, tissue formation, and tissue remodeling. During the inflammation phase, blood clots form to stop blood from flowing into the wound so that the healing process can begin. Within hours, platelets, cytokines, and epidermal cells set to work closing the wound by forming new blood vessels and granulation tissue. The remodeling phase begins after the second week and continues over the next few months, leaving behind a contracted wound covered with scar tissue.
The wound healing process is, of course, affected by a number of factors that have a major impact on duration and effectiveness. While the body has a tremendous ability to repair tissue damage, failing to provide it with the best possible environment can result in complications such as infection or severe scarring.
Invasive Closure Techniques
One of the most important factors is the handling of wound edges during surgical closure. Many surgeons continue to rely on traditional closure modalities such as sutures and staples. Unfortunately, the invasive nature of these techniques can often interfere with the healing process. Both sutures and staples put substantial pressure on wound edges, which can decrease the flow of oxygen to the damaged tissue. They also concentrate tension at the point of the staple points or suture loops rather than distributing tension equally along the length of the wound.
These factors combine to degrade and weaken tissue, which increases the risk of wound dehiscence. Constrictive suture knots can also potentially strangle the flow of blood to the tissue they’re wrapped around, leading not only to dehiscence and infection, but potentially even necrosis. Research has also demonstrated that excessive wound tension can result in wider scars, leading to poor cosmetic outcomes that leave patients unsatisfied with their procedure even when it was functionally successful.
Although studies have found that moist environments can accelerate the healing process by preventing dehydration, they also create the risk of infection when exposed to open air. Bacteria and other pathogens thrive in moist environments like a recently closed wound, which is why such wounds need to be covered by dressings. Occlusive dressings, which seal the wound off from outside air while preserving moisture around the incision, can promote better healing outcomes, but they require additional care and can cause skin irritation due to the adhesives used to apply the dressing.
Improving the Healing Process With BandGrip
The latest innovation in wound closure technology, BandGrip Micro-Anchor Skin Closures have the potential to replace both traditional closure modalities and the need for additional dressing. BandGrip uses patented micro-anchors made of polycarbonate polymer to grip the dermis and pull wound edges together more evenly while distributing tension throughout the wound to avoid further tissue damage and reduce scarring during the healing process. These innovative micro-anchors are hypoallergenic, reducing the risk of allergic reactions often associated with latex-based products.
As a minimally invasive form of wound closure, BandGrip completely eliminates the risk of needlestick and the need to further damage the skin around the wound. BandGrip has been shown to drastically decrease closure time compared to traditional sutures and can be applied by any medical professional. The seal created by the sides of the closure device is waterproof, creating a moist environment around the wound to facilitate healing while also blocking out external pathogens that could cause surgical site infection. Since BandGrip is transparent, both the patient and attending physicians can monitor the appearance of the wound in the post-operative period quite easily.
Effectively functioning as both a closure method and dressing, BandGrip is remarkably maintenance free. There is no need to change dressings on a regular basis, and patients can even shower 24 hours after application. The smooth surface also eliminates the risk of suture whiskers or staple loops catching on fabric, allowing patients to resume normal activity or begin rehabilitation with confidence. BandGrip can also be removed at home, completely eliminating the need to schedule a return appointment.
Experience the Future of Wound Care
While BandGrip Micro-Anchor Skin Closures represent an exciting step forward in surgical closure methodology, the technology also has exciting potential for trauma care and emergency medical services. The ability to close wounds during critical moments to mitigate blood loss could save countless lives in the years to come. To learn more about how BandGrip works, watch the video below or contact us today to receive a free sample.