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A degradable medical patch repairs internal injuries

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Develop MIT researchers A biodegradable medical patch inspired by the Japanese art of origami paper folding can be folded around minimally invasive robotic surgical instruments and delivered through the airways, intestines and other narrow spaces, to repair internal injuries.

And robotic surgeons could someday have an easy way to fix internal injuries with minimal impact with a biodegradable medical patch.

Today, many surgeries are performed by means of minimally invasive procedures, in which a small incision is made, and miniature cameras and surgical tools are inserted through the body to remove tumors and repair damaged tissues and organs, resulting in less pain and shorter recovery times compared to open surgery.

While many procedures can be performed this way, surgeons can face challenges in an important step in the process of sealing internal wounds.

The biodegradable medical patch is like a foldable film that looks like paper when it dries, and after contact with moist tissues or organs, it turns into a stretchy gel, similar to a contact lens, and can stick to the affected site.

And unlike existing surgical adhesives, the new patch is designed to resist contamination when exposed to bacteria and body fluids, and over time, the patch can safely dissolve.

Researchers are working with clinicians and surgeons to improve design for surgical use, and they envision the new bio-adhesive can be delivered via minimally invasive surgical instruments, administered by the surgeon either directly or remotely via a medical robot.

Minimally invasive and robotic surgery is increasingly being adopted because it reduces the trauma and speeds up recovery associated with open surgery, however, closing internal wounds is a challenge in these surgeries.

This graft technique covers many areas, as it can be used to repair a puncture from colonoscopy, block solid organs or blood vessels after trauma or elective surgical intervention.

Rather than having to implement a full open surgical approach, a patch can be delivered to close the wound at least temporarily and possibly even in the long term.

Adhesives currently used in minimally invasive surgery are available as biodegradable fluids and adhesives that can spread through damaged tissues, however, when these adhesives harden, they can harden over the softer bottom surface, resulting in an incomplete sealing.

Blood and other biological fluids can also contaminate the adhesives, preventing successful adhesion to the affected site. Adhesives can also fade before the injury has completely healed, and after application, they can also cause inflammation and the formation of scar tissue.

Given the current design limitations, the MIT team sought an alternative design that met three functional requirements, so that the replacement must be able to adhere to the wet surface of the affected site, avoid attaching to anything before reaching its destination, and resist bacterial contamination and inflammation after being placed on the affected site. .

The design of the team fulfills the three requirements through a three-layer patch, so that the middle layer is the main bio-adhesive, and upon contact with a wet surface, the adhesive absorbs any surrounding water and becomes elastic and expandable, forming tissue contours, and at the same time, forming the materials in the adhesive. Strong bonds with compounds across the surface of the tissue, resulting in a tight seal between the two materials.

The researchers envision that the new bio-adhesive could be manufactured in pre-folded configurations that surgeons can easily fit around minimally invasive tools as well as across tools currently used in robotic surgery, and are seeking to collaborate with designers to integrate the bio-adhesive into robotic surgery platforms.

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