New gel heals sinus surgery wounds

Last Updated: Mar 02, 2011, 00:00 AM IST

Washington: Scientists have produced what they claim is a ground-breaking gel which can heal wounds after sinus surgery without causing any negative side-effects.

A US-based medical technology company Medtronic has purchased the patent to the medical gel application developed by the University of Otago in partnership with the University of Adelaide and a New Zealand-based company Robinson Squidgel.

The gel could potentially lead to a reduction in the number of post-operative complications which frequently occur following sinus surgery, say its developers.

The gel, derived from a polymer named chitosan extracted from crab-shell and squid, has undergone successful sheep and human trials over the past four years.

Simon Robinson, who headed the research project, said the "adhesions" or scarring can block sinus passages, often requiring further surgery to correct. This affects roughly one
third of all sinus-related operations.

The new gel is inserted into the nasal passage and forms a coating over the wound so that adhesions cannot form, and it also helps to stop bleeding with its superior blood
clotting properties, according to him.

"We believe this will be hugely beneficial to patientsand we plan to use this for appropriate sinus cases once it is commercially available.

"From a physician`s point of view, the big thing is that it reduces the amount of bleeding the patient will experience without negative side effects -- it ticks all the
boxes," Robinson said.

The developers believe the gel has potential to be adapted with further research for other surgical procedures, such as for brain and abdominal surgery.

PTI