As per MIT News, engineers developed surgical duct tape to mend torn or damaged biological tissues and organs. Like duct tape, the patch has a sticky and smooth side. Engineers refer to the digestive system as the body’s biological ductwork; the adhesive is designed to seal any holes or leaks in that system.
In experimental animal models, the patch instantly clings to actual tears and punctures in the colon, stomach, and intestines. This glue makes a solid bind to the skin and other tissues in seconds and is long-lasting. It is also adaptable, expanding and contracting with a working organ as it heals. The patch dissolves as the wound heals, causing no irritation or adhesions.
The tape was double-sided and adhesive on both sides in 2019; the new surgical duct tape extends this concept. Polyacrylic acid, a chemical often used in diapers because of its tendency to temporarily stick to wet surfaces after absorbing moisture, was employed to create the adhesive. The researchers added NHS esters to the material, which are chemical compounds that can bind with proteins in tissue to form stronger links. Finally, natural components such as gelatin or chitosan were added to the adhesive to help it retain its shape.
Surgical sutures, which require accuracy and training, are routinely used to mend holes and tears in the digestive tract. Because of the sutures, scarring around an injury is frequent after surgery. The tissue between the stitches may also break, resulting in further leaks and infection. The researchers believe that surgical duct tape might be used to repair leaks and breaches in the gut and other biological tissues faster and safer than hand-sewn sutures.
To create a more durable glue, the researchers replaced gelatin and chitosan with polyvinyl alcohol as the hydrogel. They then applied a non-sticky top layer to keep the patch from adhering to the surrounding tissue. This coating was created with biodegradable polyurethane, miming natural intestinal tissue’s flexibility and rigidity. Initial testing revealed that the patch stuck to tissues and swelled when wet, like a fully saturated hydrogel diaper. The swelling stretched the tape and the rip it was supposed to repair.
To avoid this problem, the researchers added a non-adhesive layer and stretched the adhesive layer so that the swelling would be canceled out when applied to a tissue. The researchers also ran tests to see how effective the patch was. The patch was cultivated with human epithelial cells, which continued to increase, indicating that it is biocompatible. When placed under the skin of rats, the patch biodegraded after around 12 weeks with no adverse consequences.
The patch was then used to mend holes in the animals’ digestive tracts, and the scientists discovered that it stayed securely connected long after the wounds healed. Compared to repairs done with standard sutures, it resulted in much-reduced scarring and irritation. Finally, the researchers discovered that pigs with colon anomalies who were given the patch usually ate without experiencing fever or lethargy. There was no secondary leakage from the repaired holes after four weeks.
The authors of the study believe that the surgical patch has the potential to be used safely in humans and that widespread adoption could significantly improve the treatment of gastrointestinal injuries. They eventually anticipate that operating rooms would stock the surgical adhesive patch as a rapid and safe substitute for hand-sewn sutures in mending holes and tears in the digestive system and other biological tissues.