Extensive burn and trauma wounds, often associated to pathological scars, lead to lifelong disability and have significant consequences for patient’s quality of life, as well as major socioeconomic impact. Pathologic scarring results from aberrations of physiologic wound healing normally associated to a transition of fibroblasts to myofibroblasts generating contractile forces within the wound milieu. Although wound contraction is an essential physiologic mechanism associated to skin biomechanics, together with wound mechanical environment and respective tissue tension, it significantly determines scarring degree during skin healing. Current scar treatments such as pressure garments, silicone dressings, hydrocortisone injections, etc. are empirical, unpredictable and largely ineffective, while the therapeutic benefits of offloading cutaneous wounds during healing has not been addressed in other than incisional wounds.

The main objective of Dressing4scars is the design and development a new skin dressing with addictive manufacturing methodologies aimed at minimizing or even avoiding the formation of scars in the healing of excisional wounds.

Dressing4Scars is a project financed by the M-ERA.NET program Transnational Call 2016 under the Grant Agreement Number M-ERA-NET2/0013/2016. Dressing4Scars is coordinated by 3B’s Research Group - University of Minho, Portugal in partnership with Royal College of Surgeons -Ireland and Izertis -Spain


The main objective of Dressing4scars is the design and development, following a “4D printing” approach, of a new smart responsive scaffold to be used as a skin dressing that is capable of respond, while new skin is being formed, counteracting pro-scarring mechanical forces. Additive manufacturing (AM) has been highlighted as a key technology with huge potential in different sectors. While AM technologies have been considering only the initial state of the printed object, assuming that it is static and inanimate, Dressing4Scars focuses in a new concept, 4D bioprinting, in which “time” is integrated as the fourth dimension.

Dressing4scars aims to develop a new customized smart responsive skin dressing following a “4D printing” approach thus proposing a disruptive approach to minimize scarring during healing.

Expected Impact

The key objectives of the proposed research are to develop an innovative smart platform technology to meet real unmet academic, clinical and commercial needs in the area of skin disease, advanced materials and medical devices that builds on and enhances Europe’s existing scientific and industrial strengths.

If successful, Dressing4scars will be able to address a new concept applied to AM, the “4D printing” approach that is expected to revolutionize the field. Moreover, it will provide an alternative treatment to minimize scarring during healing using customized smart responsive dressing capable to change in situ and lead anti-scarring biological responses. This represents a major breakthrough to the current state-of-the-art treatments and is expected to be foundational for the improvement of scaffolds to be used in regenerative medicine in general.

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3B's Research Group University of Minho

Avepark - Parque de Ciência e Tecnologia
Zona Industrial da Gandra
4805-017 Barco GMR - Portugal


Parque Científico - Tecnológico
Zona Intra
Avda. del Jardín Botánico 1345
33203 Gijón -

Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

123 St Stephens Green,
Dublin 2
Republic of Ireland