Acticoat Wound Care Products
Manufacturing Acticoat wound dressings is a laborious, 14-hour process called physical
vapour deposition in which high-density polyethylene is fed through a pressure vessel whose vacuum chamber
is filled with electrically charged argon gas. This binds the ionized silver particles to the material in
a one-micron-thick layer. By comparison, the human hair is 80 microns thick.
The polyethylene material is ultrasonically bonded to a laminate backing, then packaged
and sterilized with radiation.
Silver has long been used as an anti-microbial, but one hurdle concerning inventor Dr.
Robert Burrell was that the chloride in skin causes silver to become inactive. His solution of using tiny
particles allows for a slow release of silver ions seems to work. A single piece of Acticoat can remain on
a wound for up to a week.
The dressing is used by most burn-trauma units in the United States, and brings in annual
revenues of $10 million for Nucryst Pharmaceuticals of Wakefield, Massachusetts, a subsidiary of the Alberta
company, Westaim Corporation.
A consumer version of the bandage containing lower amounts of silver is available over
the counter at competitive prices.
2004 Video: An Innovative Band-AidDr. Robert Burrell developed what is believed to be the worlds first commercial medical application of nanotechnology a bandage that has revolutionized wound care and saved the lives and limbs of patients around the world.
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