The human body is a complex system, albeit commendable strides have been made to understand it and manipulate that system to our advantage. Nonetheless, there is still much room for improvement. In surgery, it seems the medical fraternity has made a milestone achievement in the form of fast-sealing surgical glue that can be used to seal up wounds after surgery.
The currently available medical technologies for covering up medical wounds include using sutures and staples. However, these techniques do not completely seal up the wound as they are not airtight leaving it upon the body’s own defense mechanisms to seal up the small openings naturally over time.
The ideal tool would be to use up a sealant that works like glue. It would seal up the wound in an air-tight fashion. The glue sealant will make for an airtight barrier between the internal organs and the external environment at the wound created after surgery.
However, the main challenge facing the medical fraternity on the sealant front is that the currently available ones don’t work on all kinds of surgical needs. No one sealant solution works on all sealants requirements. Things tend to get more complicated when the body part in question is moving body parts; say when dealing with internal injuries and wounds on sensitive organs that keep on moving like lungs.
Well, there is a new sealant developed that might actually work all the time on all kinds of surgical sealing needs. A team of medical researchers has come up with such a sealant, and their work has been documented in this week’s Science Translational Medicine.
Nasim Annabi, a researcher at the Northeastern University and an author of the study, said, “A good surgical sealant needs to have a combination of characteristics: it needs to be elastic, adhesive, non-toxic, and biocompatible.
Most sealants on the market possess one or two of these characteristics, but not all of them. We set out to engineer a material that could have all of these properties.”
The new ‘fix-all’ sealant by this group of researchers is called MeTro and is biocompatible since it is created with proteins that make up the natural elastin found in humans. The researchers can also create different versions of the MeTro sealant with different elasticities by changing the concentration of the proteins.
Equally interesting, is the fact that MeTro works under just 60 seconds once exposed to the UV light. The researchers’ tests on rats and pigs have proven successful. They had incisions done in a rat’s arteries and punctures in the lungs, and for the pig, that had punctures on its lungs. The MeTro sealant worked impressively; even with the inflation and deflation of the lungs.
Anthony Weiss, a researcher at the University of Sydney and also an author of the study said, “The potential applications are powerful, from treating serious internal wounds at emergency sites such as following car accidents and in war zones, as well as improving hospitals surgeries.”