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SPECIALITY



        Engineers develop surgical



        ‘duct tape’ as an alternative


        to sutures




        The sticky patch could be quickly applied to repair gut leaks and tears







































              Caption: A new MIT-designed surgical sticky tape can be applied quickly and easily, like duct tape to a pipe, to repair leaks and
              tears in the gastrointestinal tract and other tissues and organs. Credits:Credit: Courtesy of the researchers

              staple on any engineer’s work-  has shown the patch can be quickly   “We think this surgical tape is a
              bench, duct tape is a quick and   stuck to large tears and punctures in   good base technology to be made
        A dependable fix for cracks and      the colon, stomach, and intestines of   into an actual, off-the-shelf product,”
        tears in many structural materials.   various animal models. The adhe-   says Hyunwoo Yuk, a research
        MIT engineers have now developed a   sive binds strongly to tissues within   scientist in MIT’s Department of
        kind of surgical duct tape -- a strong,   several seconds and holds for over a   Mechanical Engineering. “Surgeons
        flexible, and biocompatible sticky   month. It is also flexible, able to ex-  could use it as they use duct tape
        patch that can be easily and quickly   pand and contract with a functioning   in the nonsurgical world. It doesn’t
        applied to biological tissues and or-  organ as it heals. Once an injury is   need any preparation or prior step.
        gans to help seal tears and wounds.  fully healed, the patch gradually de-  Just take it out, open, and use.”
                                             grades without causing inflammation
        Like duct tape, the new patch is     or sticking to surrounding tissues.  Yuk, the study’s co-lead and
        sticky on one side and smooth on the                                     co-corresponding author, and his
        other. In its current formulation, the   The team envisions the surgical   colleagues have published their
        adhesive is targeted to seal defects   sticky patch could one day be     results in the journal Science Trans-
        in the gastrointestinal tract, which the   stocked in operating rooms and   lational Medicine. Other co-authors
        engineers describe as the body’s own   used as a fast and safe alternative   include MIT postdoc and lead
        biological ductwork.                 or reinforcement to hand-sewn su-
                                             tures to repair leaks and tears in the
        In numerous experiments, the team    gut and other biological tissues.                             8



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