A technique has been developed that can speed up the healing process by fluctuating the pressure around a wound.
Dr Louis Argenta at Wake Forest University, in the US, said experiments in creating lower pressure around damaged tissue have produced promising results. The idea is that the reduced pressure will help deliver oxygen from the blood into the damaged area.
Dr Argenta noticed that this process can be accelerated by rhythmically increasing and decreasing the pressure on the wound.
He believes that a number of different injuries, including those caused by accidents, disease, burns or surgery, could be helped by the technique.
Now, a flexible device has been developed that forms a secure seal around a wound and gradually pumps out air in order to lower the pressure, before slowly releasing the suction. The device can reverse the process and increase pressure.
Experiments on pigs have shown that the suction cycle, controlled by electronics, can speed healing of wounds, Dr Argenta said.
The healing process could also be aided by the way the device regularly distorts the tissues that are needing to heal, he explained.