Nano-Suturing Technique Can Now Close Deep Wounds Using Lasers

Monday, 08 February 2016 - 11:04AM
Medical Tech
Monday, 08 February 2016 - 11:04AM
Nano-Suturing Technique Can Now Close Deep Wounds Using Lasers
Is this the end of traditional staples and stitches? Scientists from the University of St. Andrews and Harvard Medical School have just devised a new non-invasive technique for suturing wounds that uses only a special kind of dye, a plastic waveguide, and a laser.

The research, published in Nature Communications, detailed a technique for suturing wounds called "nano-suturing," which involves a substance called rose bengal dye. Rose bengal dye contains collagen, a protein that gives skin its structure. When collagen loses an electron, it becomes a free radical, which readily bonds with surrounding atoms in order to replace the electron. When the dye is applied to a wound and then hit with a laser, the laser causes the collagen to lose electrons, which in turn causes the atoms to bond together and effectively suture the wound. 

This technique has been used before, but because the process would only occur in areas that came into contact with the light, it could only close wounds that were as deep as the light could penetrate (namely, not very deep). However, this new study has introduced another element into the procedure: a bioabsorbable waveguide. When the waveguide, which is essentially a plastic comb, is inserted into the wound, it guides the light further down into the wound, allowing for deeper wounds to be treated with nano-suturing. 

Waveguides have been attempted before, but they needed to be removed at a later date, which defeated the purpose of a non-invasive treatment. This new type of waveguide is made of a biodegradable polymer, and so harmlessly dissolves into the skin. Using this particular waveguide, the light was able to reach ten times the tissue area of previous experiments.

The method still hasn't been tested on wounds that are very deep--this specific experiment tested it on a 10mm incision in pigskin--but nano-suturing can officially be used on wounds that are "non-superficial." And the researchers contend that, with further advancements in the technology, we should be able to use this technique on deeper wounds and eliminate the need for stitches in the near future.

Via Gizmodo.
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