Biodegradable film reduces surgical scarring

Jan 29, 2008

A new, biodegradable film designed to reduce the severity of scarring following open heart surgery in young children appears to be safe and effective, according to researchers attending the annual meeting of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons in Ft. Lauderdale.

Scarring is a normal response to surgery, but it can be troublesome in children born with congenital heart defects because many need multiple surgeries to correct or treat their problems. “Often the scarring is severe enough that when we perform a second surgery, we find the heart is stuck to the sternum,” says Dr. Andrew Lodge, a pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon at Duke University Medical Center and study leader.

Lodge says widespread scarring, or adhesions, can mean higher risk for the patient, more time in surgery and more difficult work for the surgeons. “With adhesions, we have to cut through tough, fibrous tissue in very delicate areas – not just between the heart and the sternum, but also in other areas between vessels and cardiac chambers. This increases the amount of time a patient has to be under anesthesia and potentially could involve more bleeding and the need for transfusion or other blood products,” says Lodge. “So we are very interested in anything that can keep scarring to a minimum.”

Biomedical engineers have searched years for a solution, but so far, nothing has worked very well, says Lodge. “Right now, if we use anything we usually use a non-absorbable membrane made of Gore-Tex that we place between the heart and the sternum, but it’s not ideal.” He says anything foreign that’s left in the body can provoke an inflammatory response or invite infection and “that’s why the idea of an absorbable film is so attractive.”

Researchers at 15 institutions around the U.S. evaluated the new barrier film, called Repel-CV® Adhesion Barrier, in 103 infants undergoing open-heart surgery who were expected to undergo a second procedure. Roughly half were randomized into the treatment group and the others served as controls. Using a graded scale of none, mild, moderate or severe, physicians evaluated the extent of adhesions during the children’s second surgery, from two to three months later.

They found that use of the Repel-CV® dramatically reduced the incidence of severe scarring, with only 30 per cent of those receiving the barrier film experiencing severe scarring, compared to 71 percent of the patients in the control group. They also found that patients who underwent cardiopulmonary bypass or a Norwood procedure, as well as patients whose incisions were closed after some delay, were at higher risk of developing dense scarring in the chest, but that Repel-CV® was effective in reducing adhesions in these patients as well.

Investigators did not note any side effects from use of the new film. The product has not yet been approved by the FDA, although an application for approval has been accepted.

Source: Duke University

Explore further: 3-D printing offers innovative method to deliver medication

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Google hits back at rivals with futuristic HQ plan

23 hours ago

Google unveiled plans Friday for a new campus headquarters integrating wildlife and sweeping waterways, aiming to make a big statement in Silicon Valley—which is already seeing ambitious projects from Apple ...

Recommended for you

3-D printing offers innovative method to deliver medication

3 hours ago

3-D printing could become a powerful tool in customizing interventional radiology treatments to individual patient needs, with clinicians having the ability to construct devices to a specific size and shape. That's according ...

Mystery of the reverse-wired eyeball solved

Feb 27, 2015

From a practical standpoint, the wiring of the human eye - a product of our evolutionary baggage - doesn't make a lot of sense. In vertebrates, photoreceptors are located behind the neurons in the back of the eye - resulting ...

Neurons controlling appetite made from skin cells

Feb 27, 2015

Researchers have for the first time successfully converted adult human skin cells into neurons of the type that regulate appetite, providing a patient-specific model for studying the neurophysiology of weight ...

Quality control for adult stem cell treatment

Feb 27, 2015

A team of European researchers has devised a strategy to ensure that adult epidermal stem cells are safe before they are used as treatments for patients. The approach involves a clonal strategy where stem cells are collected ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.