Magnetic Needles Make Suturing Easier
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Suturing is the process of stitching wounds using a needle and thread. It is a practice that has been used for thousands of years and a successful one at that. Kaifeng Liu, MD however would like to make the process that bit easier by introducing magnetic suturing needles. A research fellow at Boston Children’s hospital he aims to make suturing faster and more efficient for patients and surgeons.

Traditional suturing involves the surgeon using a curved needle that he holds using needles holders. This is then driven into the bodies tissues using a twisting action. As the needle is pushed through the tissue a thread bonded to the back of it is pulled through. Whilst this is happening the surgeon uses his other hand to hold some tweezers that can be used to guide and  re-grasp the needle. This form of suturing works well however more space is needed given the size of  the curved needle. As well as this the surgeon has to constantly swap the needle from the needle holders to the tweezers in order to carry out the procedure. This is a time consuming method that uses a lot of the surgeon’s energy.

Liu however has been working on another way of suturing that is designed to eliminate the time and energy taken to suture.  It involves using a smaller needle that has a magnetic element.  The needle is attached to the needle holder and has a thread attached to it with a magnet at the end. The needle is designed to pierce the tissue which then engages with the suture thread thanks to its magnetic attraction.  This new method allows the surgeon to suture without having to swap the needle from one piece of equipment to another.

This type of needle can be used in smaller spaces as it does not require any extra room like the curved needle. He hopes to make needles that will be able to be used in minute, deep or cramped surgical fields including endoscopic surgery on the oesophagus or bronchi, gynaecologic, or colorectal surgery in the pelvis and ophthalmologic procedures on the eye.

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Friday, July 1st, 2016 by Charlie Stelling About Us No Comments

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