This Surgical Hydrogel Can Seal Wounds Without Stitches

Methacryloyl-substituted tropoelastin, or MeTro, is an elastic hydrogel compound that can be applied to internal or external wounds during surgery or in emergency situations. Once treated with UV light, MeTro’s sealant properties are activated within seconds, effectively staunching blood flow and quickly closing wounds. The hydrogel can even be fine-tuned to different degrees of elasticity depending on the intensity of UV light exposure.

In early phase research, MeTro was successfully tested on the arteries of rodents and lungs of pigs. Human clinical trials are expected to begin in 2018. The collaborating research teams from University of Sydney, Harvard University, and Northeastern University responsible for this compound are confident that MeTro will have a volume of uses beyond wound management.

Click here to review the publication in Science Mag.

How far have we come from surgery? Just two years ago, we were exploring surgery free cures for appendicitis.

Recently, several studies in Europe have re-investigated this treatment option and determined that antibiotics can be used to treat appendicitis instead of appendix removal surgery, reports The New York Times. Of the 1,000 participants, 70% of those who took antibiotics needed no further surgery or treatment. Where antibiotics were not effective, subsequent surgeries were completed without any additional risks. Physicians who participated in the study proposed valuable questions regarding when to offer antibiotics and when is this treatment is most cost-effective. Given these unanswered questions and the uncertainty associated with appendicitis and its causes, further study regarding the efficacy of antibiotics is warranted.

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