Shape-Shifting Ultrasound Stickers for Detecting Post-Surgical Complications

By: | March 13th, 2024

Shape-Shifting Innovation

Imagine a future where tiny, biocompatible stickers monitor your internal health after surgery. Researchers from Northwestern University and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are turning this vision into reality with BioSUM (Biodegradable Shape-Shifting Ultrasound Monitor). These innovative stickers transform their shape in response to specific bodily changes, providing a non-invasive way to detect post-surgical complications.

Addressing Critical Risks

When surgeons close organ incisions, the risk of digestive fluid leaks exists, leading to a 30% chance of a six-month hospital stay or a 20% mortality rate if undetected. Conventional ultrasound scans struggle to differentiate digestive fluids from other bodily fluids, complicating timely identification.

Traditionally, identifying issues like anastomotic leaks—when fluids escape from reconnected intestines—relies on techniques with limitations. BioSUM addresses this by focusing on pH levels. A change in pH often signals fluid leakage, and BioSUM’s material is designed to react to these fluctuations.

Biocompatible and Bioresorbable

The stickers’ effectiveness has been validated in animal models, with ultrasound successfully capturing their shape shifts even deep within tissues. Their biocompatible and bioresorbable design adds another layer of convenience. Once a patient recovers, the sticker simply dissolves, eliminating the need for additional surgery.

This innovation holds immense promise for improving surgical outcomes. The ability to monitor patients remotely and non-invasively could revolutionize post-surgical care. The stickers’ compact size and flexibility also make them highly versatile, allowing for placement at various surgical sites.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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