Microgel Can Make Safer Implant Surgery

Knee replacement or Joint replacement surgeries became inevitable for many individuals across the world a long ago. The reasons for these surgeries also are many but post-surgery the situations may improve or can complicate at times leading to some infections or some new medical condition than can lead to unimaginable perils.

Scientists from New Jersey’s Stevens Institute of Technology came together to solve this problem, with a new type of highly-targeted bacteria-killing gel.

Prof. Matthew Libera’s team of experts created a gel that consists largely of a negatively-charged polymer that gets loaded up with positively-charged antibiotics.

Surgeons say that artificial joints are dipped into a bath of the gel for a few seconds, leaving a lattice-like array of tiny “microgel” flecks on the surface of those implants – each fleck is only about one one-hundredth the width of a human hair. The joints would then be quickly dunked in an antibiotic bath, allowing the microgels to absorb that medication.

The tests are continued to gain more clarity and to make this gel available to the patients who undergo these surgeries, in the near future. So, these scientists are now working on gaining government approval for the technology, and on finding industry partners to develop it further. It’s possible that the gel could also be used on items such as artificial heart valves or sutures.

“It only takes one bacterium to cause an infection,” says Libera. “But if we can prevent infection until healing is complete, then the body can take over.”

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