Smart Sutures Will Really Know How to Get Under Your Skin
Providing important data about tissue health
It’s often no easy feat to look at the stitches of a wound and determine its progress in healing; in the future, this may be a task well suited for a smart suture.
Engineers at Tufts University have created sutures from various types of conductive thread dipped into chemical compounds and connected to wireless electronic components. The various compounds can detect specific properties (such as temperature), and then relay the data through the conductive thread to the electronic components. The wirelessly transmitted data are then sent to a computer for analysis.
This research sets the precedent for a future in which assorted compounds and sensors are routinely woven into stitches in order to detect, monitor, and report on things like temperature, pH, and blood glucose levels. Such information could determine healing status, the presence of infection, and chemical balance status. This wealth of data could flow to clinicians to assist with remote monitoring, as well as to patients to assist with self-monitoring, bringing healthcare closer to a more personalized and accessible patient care experience.
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