Smart multifunctional sutures for advanced healthcare




Walsh, Tavia

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Recent advances in the miniaturization of biosensors and drug delivery systems have allowed for the continuous and non-invasive monitoring of patient health. While sutures are mainly used for approximating tissues in clinical practice, there has been emerging development of new suture materials for improving wound healing outcomes. We report a novel method of continuous and high-throughput fabrication of multifunctional sutures and threads which allows for control over a wide range of important microstructural and physical properties. In the proposed fabrication method, a thread or suture is spooled across a base collecting plate. The fabrication method involves direct electrospinning (ES) onto the surface of threads and sutures. ES has also been widely used within the area of biomedical and tissue engineering, given its compatibility with a range of synthetic and natural biocompatible polymers. As the thread moves beneath a syringe pump and a spinerette needle that is positively charged, electrospun nanofibers collect on the surface of the thread. The coating layer thickness and the alignment of the nanofibers with the direction of the thread is tuned by varying the spooling speed and the distance between the spinerette needle and the thread. The resulting smart sutures have applications in both passive and on-demand drug release, durable wound biosensing, and improved cell viability and attachment. These structures may be manipulated in different materials (i.e. skin, fabrics, wound dressings) and be combined using textile methods (e.g. braiding, weaving, knitting) to form three dimensional (3D) constructs.



Electrospinning, Sutures, Biomaterials, Microfabrication