Surgeries have always been scary. Imagine that you are in a surgery. Your body is open. At times, a piece of you taken out. Even the image is horrific. Not to mention gross. No matter the reasons for a surgery, it is always chilling to even imagine going under the knife.
But with our world advancing at a great pace each day, the field of medicine has also seen immense progress. And this includes surgeries. From a period when there was no anesthesia for the patients to world class anesthetic techniques. From crude surgical apparatus to cutting edge devices. And from open-wound surgeries to laparoscopic methods. The world of surgery is continuously evolving.
However, since the most ancient times of surgical procedures, the only technique for wound closures has been stitches. Or to use the technical term, sutures. Thankfully, the extent of opening a human body for operative procedures has drastically reduced. Being the daughter of a Surgeon specialist, I have personally witnessed the marvel that is laparoscopic surgery. Minimally invasive, quick recovery and imperceptible scarring; the most important advancements it brought. However, even in Laparoscopic surgery, the small holes are eventually sutured.
But, slowly and steadily, this neglected field of medical innovation is coming into light. While sutures are still the best and only foolproof method for closing surgical wounds, some other techniques have cropped up in the recent past.
THE STICKY TAPE
Straight from MIT’s researchers, this sticky tape is not only useful for closing tissue but for targeted medicine delivery as well. The sticky tape is inspired by a Gecko’s feet. Similar to the gecko, the tape has thousands of nanoscale pillars that help it in sticking to the tissue without coming out. It also possesses a chemical glue. Whether inside or outside the body, the tape eventually breaks down itself without causing any skin irritations.
A unique product from an Israeli medical start-up IonMed, BioWeld1 is a patented product that welds surgical wounds using cold plasma. The welding process makes use of cold plasma due to the harmful effects of high temperature of plasma on a tissue. While the procedure sounds daunting, it is rather simple and requires no special training. It seals the wound effectively and leaves negligible scarring.
LASER TISSUE WELDING
Laser tissue welding is a newer, kind-of scarier method for closing incisions. The sealing of tissue happens by heating the affected tissue using laser light. This causes the tissue to fuse together. Although revolutionary, the technique is still experimental. But, it tested on animals successfully. It can also seal blood vessels as well as cartilages.
DermaBond is a new surgical glue that can replace surface skin stitches. While it is still unusable for internal stitches, DermaBond is being extensively used in aesthetic surgeries. Replacing sutures, it eliminates the pain of removing stitches post-surgery as well as leaves no scarring. It is thus most aptly used in breast augmentations, facelifts, and tummy tucks.
While the world is slowly moving towards an automated world where even surgeries are being done by specially monitored robots, the minute field of closing these wounds is still comparatively unexplored. Although these disruptive techniques are still under trials, they can be the next big step in surgical medicine. And maybe someday, surgeries won’t be as scary as they are now.