In medicine and especially in surgery, specialists use sutures in wound management to promote faster and better healing and reduce scarring.
Suturing dates back to 3000 B.C.E in Egypt when needles were made from bone, copper or silver, but the sutures were made of biological material such as flax, cotton, hemp, hair and even materials like tendons, arteries, nerves, muscles and catgut. Nowadays, it is difficult to imagine using this type of sutures. Science has developed non-biological, absorbable materials such as polyglycolic acid, polylactic acid,
monocryl and polydioxanon; and non-absorbable sutures such as nylon, polyester, PVDF and polypropylene. As an example, in 2002 FDA approved a new coating for sutures – triclosan, which reduces wound infection.
However, science did not stop there. Recently, scientists from Tufts University in Massachusetts developed “smart” sutures. These “sutures” can detect the healing process and send it to your computer or any other electronic device.
With the advent of computer technology medicine is evolving exponentially.
The key to this detection ability depends on electric conductivity. The generated electrical signal is detected by a microchip in the bandage, which records the information. The electrical conductivity is influenced by pH levels, temperature and strain. This kind of information can give an idea of how the wound is healing and serves as information for the need for further treatment with medicine, new suture application and wound debridement.
As surprising as it sounds, these sutures are simply cotton material with silver chloride coating. With the advent of computer technology medicine is evolving exponentially.
Author: Ingus Apse
Photo sources: www.sinaiem.org