This new surgical technology will definitely stick to your ribs.
Scientists have created an elastic super surgical glue that can seal cuts, wounds and incisions instantly. The technology, called MeTro, was created by Nasim Annabi, an assistant professor of chemical engineering at Northwestern University who collaborated with scientists at the University of Sydney and Harvard Medical School.
MeTro — profiled by Science Translational Medicine — is an elastic gel that doctors can apply to an open cut to seal it, like a clear band-aid. The gel is made from a human protein that reacts to ultraviolet light. It’s applied to a wound through a syringe and when the light activates it, the wound is sealed in 60 seconds. The liquid gel solidifies once it comes into contact with tissue surfaces.
The adhesive nature of the glue means it can be applied to sensitive organs like the lungs and the heart without the need for needles or staples, transforming how surgeries are performed and increasing the quality of post-op healing. Organs that expand risk popping sutures — the gel would prevent that. The gel can also be more easily applied to hard to reach areas in the body during surgery.
MeTro can also be adjusted with a degrading enzyme to dissolve at the same pace as the healing process.
Because MeTro is made from human proteins, it’s helpful with healing as well.
“We observed that this isn’t just a sealant, it actually helps with tissue regeneration,” Annabi said in a statement to Northwestern.
MeTro has been tested on the lungs of rodents and pugs, but has not gone through human trials yet. Annabi thinks it could take three to five years for it to be available in hospitals.