Stitches hurt, can get infected, and fail from time to time, yet remain the best way for doctors to close open wounds. Sutures, or internal stitches, are even harder to deal with because the material to be joined is typically wet with body fluids so it takes time to dry and create a bond.
Now, there might be an alternative to sutures and stitches, and it comes from the world of spiders.
Researchers at MIT observed that spiders create a substance that absorbs small amount of water off the surface of insects, allowing the spider’s sticky substance to adhere even in the rain. This is how spiders catch food in wet weather.
The sticky spider material contains charged polysaccharides that absorbs water almost instantaneously.
Researchers have recreated the material in the form of sticky tape and tested it on different types of rat and pig tissue, including small intestine, stomach, liver and skin.
Study author Hyunwoo Yuk said:
“It’s very challenging to suture soft or fragile tissues such as the lung and trachea – but with our double-sided tape, within five seconds we can easily seal them.”