TEMPERATURE-MEASURING SMART SUTURES CAN CONTROL WOUND HEALING
Surgical sutures, classified as a medical device, started their long way from catgut and silk, however now they are about to make biggest change in 3,000 years. They are getting smart. ‘Smart’ sutures contain ultrathin sensors, that can find out the place of wound infection and hopefully one day will be able to heal too.
The sutures are consisting of the sensors, made from silicon membranes and gold wires and the thickness of them is only a few hundred nanometers. These sensors are inserted in polymer or silk strips in a winding pattern to form the sutures. As far as sutures have to be flexible if they’re to be threaded on different types of surgical needles (taper point, cutting edge, blunt point needles etc.) sewn through a wound and then tied tight, the winding pattern is really important. The winding pattern permits the atraumatic surgical sutures to spin and pull while placing the least stress on the delicate, brittle silicon sensors.
Until this time, two types of temperature sensor were founded. The first one is platinum nanomembrane resistor that changes its resistance with temperature. And the second one is based on a silicon diode that shifts its current output with temperature. These sensors are caused for detecting infection. As far as temperature increasing is one of the signs of a wound infection, surgical thread with a built-in thermometer can be considered as an early warning device. To deliver warmth and promote healing of wound there is also a heater for the sutures.
The next step is to make the surgical suture wireless and explore how to fill them up with drugs that can be delivered on command.