No more needle nor thread for sutures
Cardiovascular surgery takes a huge step forward with a new heat-sensitive gel and adhesive materials, enabling blood vessels to be reconnected without puncturing them with a needle and thread. It represents the biggest change to vascular suturing in 100 years, according to Stanford University Medical Center researchers.
Traditional sutures have been used to reconnect severed blood vessels, but they can introduce complications, such as when cells are traumatized by the puncturing needle and clog up the vessel, which can lead to blood clots.
What was needed was a biocompatible phase change material, which could easily turn from a liquid to a solid and back again.
Working with materials scientists, Stanford university Medical Center researchers figured out how to modify the thermo-reversible polymer, Poloxamer 407 so that it would become solid and elastic when heated warmer than body temperature, and would dissolve into the bloodstream at body temperature.
The polymer technique was five times faster than the traditional hand-sewing method, the researchers say. It even worked on superfine blood vessels, just 0.2 millimeters wide, which would not work with a needle and thread.
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