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In the future, a new adhesive could replace sutures and medical staples
Until now, surgeons have used special sutures or medical staples during operations to close wounds, for example. However, such a treatment entails some risks. The sutures or staples must be removed after a period of time, which can be a few weeks or even several months. In addition, such methods can cause wounds to open up again and further hospital stays are necessary. Researchers now seem to have developed a much better solution. It is a type of surgical glue or glue that could make staples and sutures unnecessary in the future.
In their current research, the scientists from the University of Sydney and the internationally recognized Harvard Medical School developed a type of surgical glue that can close wounds within seconds using UV light. The doctors published the results of their development in the journal "Science Translational Medicine".
Disadvantages of sutures and medical staples
For example, when surgeons complete a successful lung operation, patients and doctors should be able to breathe a sigh of relief. However, the danger is only really overcome after weeks or months, when the experts finally remove the used sutures or medical staples. In this example, we assume that in the meantime, no medical complications or holes have appeared on the seam of the injury. If the wound has previously opened, however, further surgical interventions are necessary and the time for regeneration is increased, the scientists explain.
Gelatinous glue is made from a human protein
The newly developed surgical adhesive appears to be so effective that it could replace surgical clips and sutures as a whole, explains the author Dr. Nasim Annabi from the well-known Harvard Medical School. The gel-like adhesive is made from a human protein. This protein has been modified to respond to ultraviolet light. The special adhesive is called MeTro. The application of the adhesive is relatively simple. The glue is applied to a wound by medical professionals, then the wound is irradiated with UV light for a few seconds. After this process, the wound is already closed and sealed, the experts say.
What are the advantages of surgical glue?
The MeTro adhesive differs from all other methods available to date, explains Dr. Annabi. The adhesive adheres very well to various surfaces such as tissues of the lungs, heart or other organs. The elastic quality of the gel makes it ideal for tissues that require special flexibility, such as an expanding lung, say the doctors. The use of the adhesive can also be fine-tuned. In this way, the pace at which the surgical glue breaks down is influenced and the breakdown of the adhesive can be specifically adapted to the time it takes for the affected organ to heal, the scientists add.
Adhesive also supports tissue regeneration
Because the new adhesive was made from a human protein, it has another valuable feature. "We found that the adhesive is not only a means of sealing wounds, the surgical adhesive actually helps with tissue regeneration," explains Dr. Annabi.
Novel glue could be used for heart attacks
For example, after a heart attack, the surgical glue could be applied to the damaged heart muscles to help the muscles regrow. Previous research has shown that the newly developed glue can also be sprayed onto the skin to form a barrier to wounds and at the same time promote healing, the researchers report.
Tests on rats showed very good results
In their current study, the scientists tested MeTro on the lungs of rats. They found that the surgical glue works much better than traditional waterproofing materials and the commonly used sutures. The scientists explain that the latter also means that it is not possible for the organ tissue to move naturally when it comes to closing wounds.
The new adhesive could be used in hospitals in three years
Dr. Annabi and her colleagues plan to test the special adhesive over a longer period in the future. After that, the first clinical trials are to be carried out on humans. Dr. Annabi suspects that surgical glue will be available in hospitals within the next three to five years. (as)