Gecko inspires bandage for surgical wounds

February 19th, 2008 - 1:44 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Feb 19 (IANS) Geckos have inspired MIT researchers to create amazingly waterproof bandages to patch up surgical wounds or internal injuries seamlessly. The bandage surface has the same kind of nanoscale hills and valleys that allow the lizards to cling to walls and ceilings.

A thin coating of glue enables the bandage to stick in wet environments, comprising tissues of the heart, bladder or lungs.

Since the dressing is biodegradable, it dissolves gradually and eliminates removal, say the researchers who have published their findings in the online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Robert Langer of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Jeff Karp of Harvard Medical School led the research team.

Karp said a surgical tape made from this new material could wrap around and reseal the intestine after the removal of an infected segment or after a gastric bypass procedure.

It can also patch a hole caused by an ulcer. Because it can be folded and unfolded, it has a potential application in minimally invasive surgical procedures particularly difficult to suture because they are performed through a very small incision.

Gecko-like dry adhesives have been around since about 2001 but there have been significant challenges to adapt this technology for medical applications given the strict design criteria required.

“This is an exciting example of how nanostructures can be controlled, and in so doing, used to create a new family of adhesives,” said Langer.

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