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Future of suture — pliers, hole punch
The FastStitch suturing device — a cross between a pliers and a hole-puncher — guides stitches’ placement after surgery, its U.S. student inventors say.
A team of eight Johns Hopkins undergraduates invented a disposable suturing tool to guide the placement of stitches and guard against the accidental puncture of internal organs to reduce the amount of costly complications — some life-threatening.
Although the device is still in the prototype stage, the FastStitch team received recognition and raised more than $80,000 this year in grant and prize money to move the project forward.
Team member Luis Hererra, a sophomore biomedical engineering major, said the device was needed to improve the some 5 million open abdominal surgeries conducted annually in the United States. If the incisions are not closed properly, a patient can develop complications such as infection, herniation and evisceration — all of which require additional treatment and in some cases, more surgery, he said.
One of these complications — herniation, in which intestinal tissue can protrude through the abdominal wall after the muscle layer splits apart — leads to $2.5 billion in additional costs annually in follow-up treatment and medical malpractice expenses, the students said.
“Doctors who have to suture the fascial layer say it can be like pushing a needle through the leather of your shoe,” Hererra said in a statement. “If the needle accidentally cuts into the bowel, it can lead to a sepsis infection that can be very dangerous.”
Copyright 2012 by United Press International