Tel Aviv: Israeli surgeons are using a supersonic gun that fires a mixture of oxygen and salt water at the skin can get rid of scars and improve burn injuries. The device, which blasts the gas and fluid mixture at the skin faster than the speed of sound, has been shown to reduce acne and other scarring and skin damage, and has also been used to tackle stretch marks.
It has been subjected to clinical trials and has already been used in a number of countries, and is also said to help make skin more elastic and can even be used to reduce wrinkles around the eyes.
It could also be used in the future to deliver medication into the body without the use of a needle.
The gun, which is due to be launched in the UK within six months, uses technology borrowed from the aviation industry to create a jet of gas and liquid travelling at supersonic speed. The secret is in the design of the nozzle, which can propel the oxygen and saline solution at a speed of 200 metres a second.
‘The jet spray impacts on the skin, causing forces strong enough to peel back the layers of skin,’ say the team of plastic surgeons at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, who carried out a trial of the device on 50 patients.
Because the jet is so strong it can remove deep skin layers, which renews facial tissues, say researchers. By peeling back layer after layer, superficial scarring can also be removed.
The gun, which has been developed by Tavtech Ltd, is positioned at a 45 or 90-degree angle to the skin surface and at a distance of one to two inches.
THEN it is attached by tubes to a main unit with a foot switch. When the switch is pressed, the jet is released and the operator moves the nozzle over the skin, controlling the continuous stream of oxygen and fluid. In that way, layer after layer of skin can be removed. The depth of peeling can be finetuned by adjusting the gas pressure and the length of the blasts.
‘The powerful stream is capable of penetrating the skin pores and crevices, as well as acne lesions, and removing tissue debris.
‘Since bacteria-causing infection are anaerobic, they cannot survive the exposure to oxygen. The addition of nutrients, drugs and vitamins to the fluid solution used will increase the benefits,’ says Professor Ella Lindenbaum, who carried out tests on the device.
Plastic surgeons who conducted a clinical trial in Jerusalem say the pure oxygen in the mix helps wounds to heal much faster than normal.
Oxygen is known to speed up wound healing. It is also believed to stimulate development of collagen, which keeps skin supple.
The manufacturers are in talks with two potential distributors in the UK and hope it will be available some time during the next few months.
Researchers who carried out the trial say the device worked well for all 50 patients.
The gun can also tackle stretch marks, which develop when the skin is excessively stretched by pregnancy or weight gain. Collagen-is damaged and blood vessel dilation results in red or purple-coloured stretch marks, which later turn white.
The device is thought to work by improving the collagen in the tissue to make it more supple.
Other uses need to be investigated. One possibility, say researchers, is that it could be used to get medication of various kinds into the body.
Patches are already used to deliver nicotine replacement and testosterone therapies, but many other drugs could be delivered through the skin.
The manufacturer believes this type of transdermal transfer deserves serious investigation and could be a useful way to introduce medication for a variety of therapeutic purposes.