Dr. Fateme Fayyazbakhsh, shown in a laboratory at Missouri S&T, aims to develop more effective dressings for patients with second-degree burns. (Credit: Lev Suliandziga)

New 3D printed hydrogel dressings can speed up and improve the healing process for patients with second-degree burns. The dressings have bioactive formulations to better address issues that patients with burn injuries regularly face.

Continuous hydration provided by these dressings, along with their nonadhesive and porous texture, show great promise in promoting moist wound healing, reducing pain caused by atraumatic dressing removal, and minimizing scar tissue formation.

Hydrogels are typically part of the care regimen for patients with severe burns, but what separates this research from standard hydrogels is that the team is focusing on precisely 3D printing dressings that also include bioactive borate glass.

By 3D printing the dressings and including the glass, the researchers can better control the release of water from the dressing. Instead of coming in bursts, the water is paced out continuously over the course of 10 days, which means the dressing should stay effective on the wound for a longer time.

In a study using a murine model, researchers observed that the 3D printed dressings led to faster wound closures, less scarring, nonadhesive contact of the dressing, and easier dressing removal.