Stopping bleeding, closing and organ repairs are everyday challengers medical and surgical staff have to deal with. Staples and sutures are effective tools; however each has their own difficulties; suturing can be demanding in inaccessible body regions or within invasive surgery and can be traumatic to the tissue. During past years, common tissue adhesives have emerged, however these also have limitations; toxicity, insufficient strength, and excessive swelling.
But, what happens when we try nanotechnology in this application?
A paper I recently read, used two different types of nanoparticles (NP): silica (SiO2) and iron oxide (Fe2O3), to close wounds and help in the healing process. The concept they devised (Scheme 1) was quiet simple: a droplet of nanoparticle solution spread on a gel surface and gel pieces are brought into contact. The adsorbed NPs act as “connectors” between pieces of tissue and assure adhesion. The strength of the adhesion is provided by the macromolecules of the gel.
Tested on rats, the authors of the paper, not only found that both the SiO2 and Fe2O3 NPs provided a faster healing of Epidermis and Dermis tissue lacerations than the suture and ‘normal’ adhesive (Figures 1 and 2), but also noticed that the gel allowed for easier alignment of the two sides of the laceration, a common problem with sutures.
Further experiments by this group, determined that the NP gels can also stop bleeding of lacerations in major organs, by simply by producing a membrane of NP gel over the section of the organ. With the research shown in this paper, they managed to demonstrate that these nanoparticle gels can be favourably used in a variety of different clinical situations.
If you would like to read more, visit: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/anie.201401043/pdf
Posted by Kimberley Patterson, Supervisor: Ingo Koeper
 Duarte, A. P.; Coelho, J. F.;Bordado, J. C.; Cidade, M. T;Gil, M. H., (2012), Surgical adhesives: Systematic review of the main types and development forecast, Progress in Polymer Science, 37(8), 1031-1050.