Compiled by EuroPhotonics staff
MUNICH, Germany – Instead of sewing
up wounds, doctors soon could “weld” them shut, thanks to a new minimally
invasive tool that closes wounds using a laser. Based on the laser welding process
developed for plastics, the device simplifies the process of suturing and expedites
Although more surgeries are being carried out in a minimally invasive
manner, suturing can still be a challenge. Very often, piercing the tissue and tying
the knots is difficult because surgeons must operate in very tight quarters. It
isn’t like sewing textiles – a knot must be made after every stitch,
an exacting process that stresses the patient and can cause a number of complications.
If the suture is too tight, there is the danger of a minor hemorrhage. Also, the
suture material could cut into the tissue, strangulating the vessels and causing
the tissue to die. If the suture is too loose, bleeding at the edges of the wound
may occur. The correct suture tension can be difficult to find. Surgeons must subjectively
estimate the optimum tension for each scenario because they do not have access to
a reproducible standardized setting.
To simplify and expedite surgeries, researchers at Fraunhofer Institute for Production
Technology have developed a minimally invasive suturing instrument. Courtesy of
Now, researchers at Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology
have developed a semiautomatic process that enables surgeons to connect the suture
material with a previously set, predefined tension. The device allows them to join
the edges of the wound quickly and safely with a laser, eliminating the difficult
task of knotting.
The researchers successfully carried out the suturing process
during lab tests. They achieved a suture tension of 0 to 5 N and a lasing time of
0.1 s. Preclinical studies are slated to begin this year at Aachen University Hospital.
Initially, the device will be used for minimally invasive surgeries in the abdominal
area, but soon could be adapted to keyhole surgeries of the heart, the scientists