Stretchable biosensors developed to help guide surgeons during procedures
Image credit: BONGJOONG KIM, PURDUE UNIVERSITY.
Researchers have developed 'bio-inks' for use in biosensors designed to help surgeons carry out more accurate surgical procedures.
The team from Los Alamos National Laboratory and Purdue University said the new biosensors allow for simultaneous recording and imaging of tissues and organs during surgery.
“The ink used in the biosensors is biocompatible and provides a user-friendly design with excellent workable time frames of more than one day,” said Kwan-Soo Lee, of Los Alamos’ Chemical Diagnostics and Engineering group.
“Simultaneous recording and imaging could be useful during heart surgery in localising critical regions and guiding surgical interventions such as a procedure for restoring normal heart rhythms,” said Professor Chi Hwan Lee at Purdue University.
The Los Alamos team formulated and synthesised the bio-inks with the goal of creating an ultra-soft, thin and stretchable material for biosensors that are capable of seamlessly interfacing with the surface of organs. They did this using 3D-printing techniques.
“Silicone materials are liquid and flow like honey, which is why it is very challenging to 3D-print without sagging and flowing issues during printing,” Kwan-Soo Lee said. “It is very exciting to have found a way to create printed inks that do not have any shape deformation during the curing process.”
The bio-inks are softer than tissue, stretch without experiencing sensor degradation, and have reliable natural adhesion to the wet surface of organs without needing additional adhesives.
Both mice and pigs were used in the in vivo assessment of the patch. The results showed the biosensor was able to reliably measure electrical signal while not impairing cardiac function.
Earlier this year, one team created a method to help repair defects in skin and bone using bioprinting during surgery, while another created a suture inspired by human tendons that could help to mitigate the damage typically caused by stiff surgical sutures.
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