Biomedical engineers from the University of Sydney may just have come up with technology that is about to make a huge impact in the worldwide medical industry as a whole. Engineers have developed a high-elasticity surgical glue that is proving effective in sealing up even the most toughest and hard-to-close wounds. Best of all? The glue eliminates the need for staples or stitches.
The full impact of the new technology only really hits home when one considers that wounds are not always on the surface of the body. Wounds are often suffered to internal organs like lungs, arteries and hearts. Wounds to internal organs are particularly difficult to seal, and the tissues found in these organs are continuously expanding and relaxing, so there is constant movement present.
That having been said, the use of tissue adhesive is nothing new in the medical field, but up until recently, these have posed their own set of challenges. Existing tissue adhesives are notorious for not being the poster-children for reliability, especially not when surgical sites involving a lot of fluids are involved. Existing adhesives are simply not flexible enough to stand the test of complicated surgical conditions.
Biomedical engineers from the University of Sydney, in partnership with three medical institutions in Boston in the United States, have now come up with an adhesive that is reportedly able to close and seal wounds within as little as sixty seconds. MeTro is said to set in under a minute when treated with UV light.
What’s more, the material also contains an enzyme that degrades the matter within a specified time frame, which is modifiable by biomedical engineers. What this means is that once the wound has healed completely, the enzyme will disintegrate and be expelled from the patient’s body, leaving no alien substances floating around indefinitely, as was previously the case. If you’ve dropped super glue in water you’ll know what we mean!
An Effective Alternative
In a recent medical paper published by Science Translational Medicine, the scientists reveal that the gel-like substance is proven successful in quickly and effectively sealing incisions made to the arteries and lungs of rodents, as well as the lungs of pigs. It’s a well-known fact that pigs have a physiological system that is very similar to that of humans.
Lead author of the study, Nasim Annabi, says that the biggest positive around the use of MeTro is the fact that the sealing agent solidifies (sets) the minute that it comes into contact with any surface, thereby eradicating the danger of it running away and not achieving the purpose for which it has been intended. Furthermore, the gel-like consistency performs wonderfully in that it takes on the shape of the wound, filling and sealing in under a minute.
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Focus On Saving Lives
Anthony Weiss, co-author and biochemistry professor at the University of Sydney says that MeTro can seal wounds that other medical adhesives cannot. Weiss says that the technology is nothing short of ground-breaking, as MeTro will being used to seal wounds at emergency sites following motor vehicle accidents as well as in war-zones, where acting quick and efficiently is the difference between life and death. The technology will greatly improve the overall functionality of general hospital surgeries.
Weiss confirmed that the new adhesive technology was now at the advanced stage of being ready and deemed safe to be tested on humans. Should the trials prove successful, and all aspects of testing so far indicates that it will, the technology will change the way that wounds are treated in general, and before long, MeTro will be saving human lives.
Ultimately, whenever any technological breakthrough is reported in the medical field, this is the litmus test for success: saving a life.