A team of engineers and surgeons from the University of California, Berkeley have created a synthetic, flexible, synthetic skin lining that could replace the ones that currently are used for surgery in the field.
This is a groundbreaking technology, said Roberta Lai, an assistant professor of bioengineering at UC Berkeley who is a co-author of the study.
“The skin layer that we’ve created is the best of all worlds,” she said.
“We’ve created a skin layer with properties that would be useful in skin grafting, for example, and we’ve added other features to make it more flexible and durable.”
A team of scientists and engineers from the UC Berkeley School of Engineering and Applied Science has created a soft and flexible synthetic skin covering that could be used in a future surgical glove.
(Image: UC Berkeley)The researchers, led by researchers from the Department of Bioengineering and the School of Architecture, built on a previous project they conducted with UC Berkeley that explored how the skin of the human body could be reshaped to make a surgical glove that could better resist heat and shock.
The new study builds on their previous research on the skin layer created by their previous work.
“It was a pretty big challenge,” said lead author Dr. Roberta A. Lai.
“There are a lot of different kinds of materials that can be used to make skin, but we found that the skin that was really soft was very hard and the soft skin was very tough.
We found that in a material that could hold the elasticity of the skin, it was the skin with the most elasticity that was the best.”
Researchers found that, by using a gel-like material, the researchers could make the skin surface more flexible than previous materials.
This was particularly important in terms of the thickness of the synthetic layer.
The team then applied this flexible skin layer to a small piece of synthetic skin and put it on a surgical device that could perform the operation.
The result was a surgical surface that was nearly 100 percent flexible, with no need for a bandage or surgical instruments.
The researchers found that even with the skin not being entirely rigid, the new soft skin could be easily replaced with a more rigid skin layer.
“You could actually make the material much more flexible,” said Lai of the results.
“When you look at the skin on a glove, you see that there is a layer of skin that is very elastic, that is able to hold your hand in place, that’s not really elastic, but that’s able to absorb shock.”
The research team is now developing the material to use in future surgical gloves that are used in surgical procedures.
“Our goal is to find out if this skin layer could also be used for wound dressing, and how it would be used, so that it’s not a rubber, but it’s able not only to hold the skin well, but also not to slip out,” said Dr. Laidra.
“And then we would then be able to make surgical gloves with the same materials.”