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There could soon be a time when you would not have to visit the doctor regularly to see if you are sutures are healing properly, the smart sutures will soon do that for you.
Researchers from Tufts University have come up with an interesting toolkit that consists of biocompatible threads which can update the status of your wounds through the sutures. The threads in the toolkit can sense the the change in temperature and even pH level and physical strain on them.
Although the researchers have only carried out the study on mice, smart sutures could soon be a reality for humans. Commenting on the development, lead researcher of the study and an associate professor of electrical engineering at Tufts University, Dr. Sameer Sonkusale said, “Most sensors that people build are typically on hard substrates like glass or silicone. We were very interested in making sensors that we can intimately interface with tissues and biological things.”
At the beginning of the study, the researchers developed the toolkit with a simple cotton thread infused with multiple sensors. Gradually, they moved on to polyurethane which is a substance similar to plastic and also rubber. However, the researchers prefer the use of thread sensors as they are easily available, biocompatible, flexible and very thin.
The researchers tested the toolkit on mice and found out that the threads were biocompatible and the sensors were very accurate. The researchers noted that new cells grew over the and around the thread in mice with almost no inflammation.
Commenting on the flexibility of the threads, Sonkusale said, “There is no inherent restrictions on where these threads can go. The hope is that when you suture someone with these threads, the surgeon could monitor some of these biomolecules inside and would know whether there is infections, whether there is swelling, whether there is inflammation — without opening up the wound.”
The researchers also tested the ability of absorption of threads to carry fluids inside the body through the threads to the sensors.