For closing up an incision in the patient’s abdominal…


For closing up an incision in the patient’s abdominal wall, a surgeon places a device known as the retractor, keeping the intestines separate below, thus not obstructing the operation. This retractor prevents the intestines from being punctured by the suturing tool and formation of hernia out of the incision. Intestinal perforations and the formation of hernias maybe occur due to necessity of withdrawal of retractor from the body before incision is sutured up completely.  Therefore, a new harmlessly dissolving retention material that can be left in the body has been developed.

New York-Presbyterian / Weill is a plastic surgeon at Cornell Medical Center. Jason Spector needed a different material after having undergone many recurrent incision hernia repairs on patients. Her former colleague, Dr. David Putnam, is an associate professor of biomedical engineering. David asked for help from Putnam.

Nicole Ricapito, a post-graduate student of Putnam, created a material that is flexible enough to be placed in a straight disc shape area, but durable enough to protect against puncture.

This non-toxic material is made of dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which is a by-product of glucose degradation in the body and polyethylene glycol, which is used in products such as laxative. While polyethylene glycol provides the required flexibility to the material, DHA adds the required strength to the material. In addition, both compounds are dissolved when exposed to liquids such as those found in the body.

Spector explained that they can think of it as a thin, flexible, rubbery layer that is strong, but completely dissolved in a few hours.