Brain surgery without stitches

March 1, 2010
Sydney, Australia--A thin-film surgical adhesive that uses a combination of laser technology and biomaterials enables surgeons to seal surgical wounds without stitches. It has strong potential for use in brain and nerve surgery because it can avoid the numerous disadvantages of invasive stitches/sutures, which fail to seal and can act as a source of infection.

Sydney, Australia--A thin-film surgical adhesive that uses a combination of laser technology and biomaterials enables surgeons to seal surgical wounds without stitches. It has strong potential for use in brain and nerve surgery because it can avoid the numerous disadvantages of invasive stitches/sutures, which fail to seal and can act as a source of infection.

A team led by Associate Professor John Foster of the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Bio/Polymer Research Group (BRG) and Professor Marcus Stoodley, a neurosurgeon from Macquarie University, has been awarded a $213,000 grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council to develop the technology for use in brain surgery.

Known as SurgiLux, this adhesive is a natural, strong, flexible film that is compatible with living tissue and is based on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved chitosan, a biomaterial derived from crustacean shells. The film is placed over a wound or surgical incision and activated with a conventional infrared clinical laser to effect closure.

The currently used stitches/sutures can fail to seal and act as a source of infection. Reportedly, up to 11% of brain surgery patients have to return for repeat surgery due to leakage of cerebro-spinal fluid and other complications arising from sutures.

“The application of SurgiLux technology will both close and seal these wounds quickly and easily, with significant health and economic benefits,” said the Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Mr. Mark Butler, announcing the grant.

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