A light-activated bio-adhesive based on a polymer derived from chitin—a substance found in fungi, crustaceans, and insects—offers advantages over sutures for delicate and hard-to-reach tissue. The technology, called SurgiLux, forms low energy bonds with tissue when activated by a laser.1
While sutures are superior in terms of strength, they are physically invasive and do not support tissue regeneration the way SurgiLux does, according to University of New South Wales (Kensington, Australia) Associate Professor L. John Foster, who oversees the research. The thin film does not invade or damage the tissue, and thus allows more complete healing—which is particularly beneficial for repair of delicate structures such as neurons, blood vessels, and eyes. For instance, says Foster, SurgiLux can hold the cornea in place during keratoplasty, whereas sutures cannot. And because it provides a uniform seal and has antimicrobial properties, it can prevent wounds from becoming infected and maintain a barrier between the tissue and its surroundings.
1. L. J. R. Foster and E. Karsten, J. Vis. Exp., 68, e3527, doi:10.3791/3527 (2012).