Engineers Invent Technology That Lets Patients’ Stitches Send Health Info to Doctors
Science| | By Joseph Oliveto
When it comes to medical technology, stitches aren’t typically thought of as state-of-the-art. However, that may soon change.
According to Tufts University, engineers there have recently invented a new type of thread that could be used in stitches that would wirelessly relay health information to medical professionals in real time. In other words, they’ve created “smart stitches” that tell your doctor how you’re doing.
No, this isn’t the plot of an obscure Star Trek episode.
The technology works by incorporating “nano-scale sensors, electronics and microfluodics into threads” that are able to monitor numerous factors, such as “pH and glucose levels,” which will help a doctor stay informed about how well a patient is healing.
It’s fairly easy to see how useful this technology will be in the future. When a patient leaves the hospital with stitches, they can still receive proper medical attention thanks to the nanotechnology that will let their doctor know if there are any complications in the healing process. Typically, patients simply have to monitor their own recovery, and report back to the doctor if they notice any changes, by which point the damage may have already been done.
Now, a doctor can determine if everything is going smoothly, and address any problems as soon as they arise.
Of course, in these early stages, the technology isn’t quite ready for human use. More work needs to be done to be sure that leaving these new technologies in a human body for an extended period of time will be safe. That said, this appears to be the start of a revolutionary new chapter in medicine.