If wounds could talk, it'd look something like Smart Stitches, the creation of a team of scientists from Tufts University.
According to the research published in the Microsystems and Nanoengineering Journal, special threads are used to not only close wounds, but send information to medical staff about the healing process using small amounts of electricity in a system of sensors.
The data is based on changes regarding the health of the tissue as healing progresses, and the stitching used can be used to monitor a number of things including:
- Strain placed on muscles
- PH of a wound
- Glucose concentration
These sensors then send the data to a database accessible via computer. This information could really help change the way doctors treat patients.
For example, if a sensor communicates that the pH is too acidic deep into a wound, it usually means a bacterial infection is happening, but healthcare workers may not know about it until other symptoms start to manifest.
Smart stitches would be able to communicate that allowing doctors to address it earlier than they normally would.
However, the potential for these stitches doesn't stop at wounds, researchers say they can be embedded in places like organs or orthopedic implants and sent the data.
So far, only limited testing has been done on live tissue.
There are still more work to be done before the stitches would be implemented in medicine.
For more information on this technology, read Tuft's release here: https://now.tufts.edu/news-releases/researchers-invent-smart-thread-collects-diagnostic-data-when-sutured-tissue