Healing wounds with stitches and staples could be a thing of the past, thanks to this latest advancein laser technology.
The use of lasers to heal wounds is an idea that has been tested and teased for a while. However, previous attempts have been limited as the lasers cant reach deep enough into the skintissue without causing damage. To get deeper into the skin, the procedurerequires a waveguide a structure that helps channel the laser that is able to remain partially embedded inthe skin after the wound has been stitched over.
To tackle this, scientists from theUniversity of St Andrews and Harvard Medical School have developed a new type of biodegradable polymer waveguide. Since it is completely biodegradable, it can be left in the wound, where it will eventually be harmlessly broken down.
Their findings have been published in Nature Communications.
The procedure. Image credit:Sedat Nizamoglu, et al/Nature Communications
The nano-suturing technique involves the use of a medical dye, called rose bengal, that links up the skins collagen structural proteins. As described by Gizmodo, when collagen is lacking an electron, it will bond with other nearby collagen molecules. Blasting the rose bengal dye with a laser beam causes it to steal an electron from the collagen, leaving it with an odd number of electrons. In order to resolve the electrons unpaired state, the collagen will fuse with its neighbors, hence creating a natural seal.
Unlike more intrusive means of sealing wounds (like stitches and staples), this method wont cause any inflammation or mild trauma to the skin.
In the study, the researchertested their technique on a 10-millimeter-deep (0.39-inch-deep) cut on a deceased pigs skin. Within15minutes, the wound was bonded.
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