Have you ever undergone surgery and stressed yourself out over wound care? While surgical wound infections are relatively rare, they still “remain a significant cause of morbidity and mortality after surgery,” according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
But, a team of scientists from the NUS Electrical and Computer Engineering and the NSU Institute for Health Innovation and Technology has developed a “smart suture” device that can detect any wound issues immediately– making these terrible fatalities much more avoidable.
While most people’s primary wound concern is an infection, it is not the only reason why surgical wounds must be monitored.
For example, surgical wounds can separate or undergo various other complications. And, if the surgical site is deep or hard to reach, then monitoring becomes even more difficult for both doctors and the patient.
Unfortunately, much of the care becomes based on observation or radiological tests– both of which are not fool-proof at detecting issues before they become fatal.
This is the very reason why Professor John Ho, the study’s lead researcher, and his team set out to develop a more innovative device.
The new smart sutures, using small electronic sensors, are able to monitor gastric leakage, wound integrity, and tissue micromotions. All the while, this suture will provide the same healing outcome as a standard medical-grade suture.
The smart suture can detect various kinds of complications through its one-of-a-kind coating– a polymer gel.
Additionally, the smart suture can also sense if the stitch has unraveled or broken. Once any complication is detected, an alert is sent directly to the patient’s doctor, who is able to take timely action.