About 1.5 million people suffer from injuries related to medical tapes that rip off the skin; many of these patients are newborns or the elderly whose skin is really delicate. Now, researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital have designed a kind of tape that can help fix medical devices to the body but doesn't lead to skin peeling during tape removal.
Medical tapes are designed for adult skin where the tape is peeled-off from adhesive side and skin. On adult skin, the adhesive side is fractured and so the skin isn't harmed. However, babies have delicate skin and so the skin gives in before the adhesive, causing irritation and injuries. Often the skin peels and it takes a while to heal, leaving behind scars.
"This is one of the biggest problems faced in the neonate units, where the patients are helpless and repeatedly wrapped in medical tapes designed for adult skin," said Bryan Laulicht from Brigham and Women's Hospital and lead study author.
The new medical tape was designed by researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital and collaborators at MIT, Los Angeles Times reported.
"When you take the tape off, you take the skin off. It's very painful, obviously, and it scars them. Some end up with months of aftercare for lesions on their skin due to the tape," said Don Lombardi, CEO of the Institute for Pediatric Innovation, according to a news release from MIT.
The tape has three layers, with the middle layer having laser-etched release liner. When the backing layer is removed, only the last layer comes-off. The adhesive layer remains on the skin and can be removed using a "push and roll" technique, says a news release.
"We designed quick-release medical tape for sensitive skin such that the weakest attachment point is between the backing and adhesive layers, thereby avoiding large stresses and strains on the skin during removal," wrote the research team, reports Los Angeles Times.
The study is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.