Surgery can pose a range of complications that must be closely monitored, though one of the more common complications includes infections, particularly those that occur at the surgical site. These infections, called surgical site infection events (SSIE), can happen in as many as 4% of all post-operation patients, and can hinder a patient’s ability to fully recovery. People who undergo more complex procedures, are older, or have a history of medical problems are all at a higher risk of developing an SSIE.
A team of researchers at the RMIT University, Australia School of Engineering have developed a new type of suture that could help reduce the risk of post-surgery infections and the need for monitoring, according to a new study published in OpenNano. The suture was developed with various clinicians and designed specifically for vaginal mesh implants designed to treat prolapse conditions, though it could offer benefits for a range of other surgical procedures. It could also reduce the need to have a surgical mesh removed, which can cause further complications.
The suture was designed using carbon dots, or a combo of nanoparticles (including iodine), which are woven throughout the material. The carbon dots, by their very nature, offers a unique affordance: they can glow, and is highly visible on CT scans. When the suture was applied to chicken meat, for example, CT scan could easily detect the suture, which makes monitoring it that much easier. Carbon nanodots also allow researchs to develop a range of structures that are flexible to meet a range of needs; for example, they could enable researchers to develop stitches that easily degrade, or that could offer a kind of permanent structure, based on patient need.
Combining iodine and carbon dots also offered a range of anti-microbial abilities, with preliminary testing showing that the suture could eliminate virtually all drug-resistant bacteria present in about six hours.
Carbon nanodots also had the benefit of being relatively cheap and easy to manufacture, highlighting their potential for a range of other post-surgical suture products in the future.
Sources: Science Daily; OpenNano