Engineers at MIT are touting a medical patch capable of being delivered through narrow spaces to patch up internal injuries.
With inspiration from the art of origami, the engineers designed the patch to be folded around minimally invasive surgical tools and delivered through airways, intestines and other narrow spaces to patch up internal injuries, according to a news release.
The patch resembles a foldable, paper-like film when dry, the researchers said, and it transforms into a stretchy gel, like a contact lens, when it makes contact with wet tissues or organs, becoming capable of sticking to an injured site. The new tape is designed to resist contamination when exposed to bacteria and bodily fluids and it can safely biodegrade away, according to data published in Advanced Materials.
MIT researchers said they are working with clinicians and surgeons to optimize the design of the patch for surgical use, envisioning the new bioadhesive being delivered through minimally invasive surgical tools being operated by a surgeon either directly or via a medical robot.
Sarah Wu and Hyunwoo Yuk were the lead authors for the study, along with co-author MIT’s Jingjing Wu. The research was supported, in part, by the National Science Foundation.
“Minimally invasive surgery and robotic surgery are being increasingly adopted, as they decrease trauma and hasten recovery related to open surgery. However, the sealing of internal wounds is challenging in these surgeries,” MIT professor of mechanical engineering & civil environment engineering Xuanhe Zhao said in the release.
The team developed the bioadhesive to stick to the wet surface of an injured site without binding to anything before reaching its destination, then, once applied, it should resist bacterial contamination and excessive inflammation.
With a hydrogel material embedded with NHS esters compounds as the middle of the three-layer patch, it absorbs surrounding water and molds to a tissue’s contours while creating a tight seal between the compounds on the tissue surface. The bottom layer is a material coated with silicone oil to act as a temporary lubricant to the adhesive, while the top layer has an elastomer film embedded with zwitterionic polymers to form a water-based skin, or a barrier against bacteria and other contaminants.
“This patch technology spans many fields,” Mayo Clinic cardiac anesthesiologist & critical care physician & study co-author Christoph Nabzdyk said. “This could be used to repair a perforation from a coloscopy, or seal solid organs or blood vessels after a trauma or elective surgical intervention. Instead of having to carry out a full open surgical approach, one could go from the inside to deliver a patch to seal a wound at least temporarily and maybe even long-term.”