In the near future, wounds may be treated with a flash of light. A process called photochemical tissue bonding can replace conventional stitches, staples and glues in repairing skin wounds and even reconnecting nerves and blood vessels.
Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, working with funds from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, recently completed a pilot study to determine the effectiveness of light bonding compared to traditional stitches. The study involved patients who had skin lesions removed and needed stitches.
The team just submitted the study for publication, according to Dr. Irene Kochevar, a dermatology professor at Harvard and a research fellow at Massachusetts General's Wellman Center for Photomedicine.
The procedure works by applying a special pink dye to the skin around a wound and zapping it with green light. The dye -- called "Rose Bengal," which is approved for diagnosis of eye damage -- absorbs the light, exciting electrons.
The electrons help create chemical bonds between collagen fibers. The collagen then links together across opposite sides of a wound, acting as a tiny seal. These "nanosutures" are more effective than traditional stitches because they're water-tight, leading to a safer seal and less scar formation, and they don't require puncturing healthy tissue with a needle and thread. There are no proteins or glues involved, which can cause irritation or inflammation.
What's more, the process can also be used to reconnect severed nerves and blood vessels, Kochevar says. The Air Force was the impetus for the study, but the technique could be used for injuries in various situations.
"One of the applications for this technology is putting nerves back together, in the hands or legs, for instance. That occurs as a result of traumatic injury. It also happens when you are at a 4th of July picnic and you are cutting hamburgers and you run a knife through your hand," she said. "So it was developed for the battlefield, but it's not limited to that."
As of now, research centers on the molecular processes involved in creating the nanosutures. It's not ready for field surgery -- at least not yet.
Kochevar said the study manuscript has not yet been accepted for publication, but she hopes it will be soon.
I have seen this or something like it done before.
And I have 1st comment.
I wonder how long it takes for the seal to create itself
I wonder what the cost will be and if this could be used to reattach severed arms and legs?
Who cuts hamburgers?
Maybe Troy Hurtubise wasn't that far off with his God light.
this is kind of like those sci fi tv shows where the advanced alien species have instant healing technologies that use light like schematics to heal completely within a few minutes.
can we make a sarcaphagous out of this technology?
This tech is a very strong step in the right direction.
Something like this could drastically reduce medical expenses and healing times, which opens up hospital beds...
My K-9 partner's recent eye injury was diagnosed with this dye. After healing, it was rechecked with it. It is a very simple process, much like a glacoma check for humans. Very cool.
Why not just a tube of super glue? That seals pretty quick, faster than we get the pink dye and light gun outta whats-his-name's pack. Oh and its already sold in stores EVERYWHERE... I don't know if I would be considered positive or negative proof it works and is safe, oh wait and,
LiquiBand, SurgiSeal, FloraSeal, Dermabond, and Nexaband
Dr. Crusher, please report to the sick bay!
My best regards to the USAF for discovery first.
this technology can be very helpful in medicine for the Air Force but i think they have to evaluate the effectiveness of the new technology.
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I see medivacs in the near future.
damn blizzard and SC2 being prophetic...
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