Friday, February 22, 2008

A Gecko Foot for Incisions

Surgery helped by a lizard? Ants used for stitches?

Ever wonder how a Gecko hangs from a ceiling all day by one toe?

Turns out, if you look really, really close, a Gecko has millions of hairy, sticky thingies on the bottom of each foot that allows the creature to hang onto almost anything. It even sticks under water.

Gold dust day Gecko.

So what’s that got to do with plastic surgery, you ask? Good question.

Scientists have developed a new bandage that works the same way as a Gecko’s foot. Imagine getting some plastic surgery that has a long scar -- like a tummy tuck -- and then showing people how your skin is being held together by a bandage inspired by a lizard.

The bandage can be folded and refolded, wrapped around a hole in a bladder or used to reseal a segment of intestine after surgery. Read more.

As for ants, it gets even more weird: Certain ants have been used to suture wounds without stitches. The skin on either side of a wound is brought together and the ants induced to bite so that their jaws hold the skin together.

Then the ants are decapitated leaving their head attached with jaws clamped tight until the wound heals!

Of course, that’s mostly used in jungle medicine. Your basic plastic surgeon will probably stick to stitches and needles.

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