When it comes to ear and nose surgery, cutting and suturing are required, which leaves scars and a lengthy recovery period. Researchers have discovered a new mechanism called “molecular surgery” that uses tiny needles, electricity, and 3D-printed patterns to instantly reshape living tissues without surgical cuts, stitches, or recovery time. Even in the case of fixing immobile joints inefficiently, the method shows promising results.
Scientists presented their findings at the American Chemical Society’s Spring 2019 National Meeting & Exposition.
The cartilage was heated with an infrared beam so that it could be reshaped more easily. It’s difficult to heat the cartilage to a point where it becomes flexible without harming the living tissue, which makes the procedure expensive. To find a more realistic approach, researchers heated up cartilage by passing a current through it. By using this method, it is possible to reshape the tissues without the need for heating.
Biopolymers loosely entangle collagen fibres in cartilage, which acts as a shock absorber. Cartilage also contains sodium ions, which have a positive charge, and proteins, which have a negative charge. High-density cartilage is more rigid than low-density cartilage. Electrolysis of water in cartilage releases hydrogen and oxygen ions, according to a study published in the journal PLOS One. By reducing the charge density and neutralising the proteins’ negative charges, the hydrogen ions help to make cartilage more pliable.
It was tested on a rabbit using a mould to bend one of its ears into a different shape than the other. When they simply removed the mould without passing a current through the cartilage using needles, the rabbit’s ear reverted to its original shape and position.” Because of this, cartilage in the bent ear was softened by the pulsating current. Cartilage returned to its original shape after the current flow was turned off, and the mould can be removed.v###