Quick-Release Medical Tape: Strong Medical Adhesive without the “Ouch” Factor

By Amy Taylor on October 30, 2012

Commercial medical tapes used in hospitals are great in keeping medical devices safely attached to the skin. But they can cause damage such as tissue tearing upon removal.  Skin damage due to medical tapes may range from irritation to permanent scarring.

Not until the new medical tape is introduced.

A team of researchers from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) has invented a quick-release medical tape that has the same adhesion properties with that of commercial medical tapes but does not leave any damage on the skin. It also eliminates the “ouch” factor upon removal. The details of the design were published yesterday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study were led by Jeffrey Karp, PhD, and Bryan Laulicht, PhD, BWH Division of Biomedical Engineering, Department of Medicine, in collaboration with Robert Langer, PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Institute for Paediatric Innovation which defined the requirements for a new neonatal adhesive device based on national surveys of neonatal clinicians. 

Skin injury is one of the biggest problems faced in the neonate units, said Laulicht. Babies in the neonate wards are repeatedly wrapped in medical tapes that are designed for adult skin. In the United States, there are more than 1.5 million injuries each year due to medical tape removal, he added.

What makes the tape different?

According to Karp, current adhesive tapes contain backing and adhesive layers that are designed to fracture at the adhesive-skin interface. With an adult skin, the adhesive fails, leaving small remnants. But when it comes to the baby’s skin, the fracture is more likely to occur on the skin, leaving a significant damage.

This quick-release tape utilises a three-layer design approach, which takes the fracture zone away from the skin to the adhesive-backing interface. As a result, there is neither harm nor difficulty during removal. The approach, explains Karp, includes an anisotropic adhesive interface between the backing and adhesive layers. The anisotropic property of the middle layer means that it has various physical properties dependent on the direction.

To create the anisotropic interface, the researchers employed laser etching and a release liner. The result was a durable medical tape with very strong adhesion property, and low peel-off force.

What about the adhesive remnants? Once the backing is peeled off, any adhesive remnants left on the skin can be removed using the finger, through a “push and roll” technique.

This medical tape is not just great for babies, but for adults who have sensitive skin as well.

 

Source of this article:

Quick Release Medical Tape, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science

 

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