A pioneering laser-based suturing device to be used in minimally invasive surgery has been developed by researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT in Aachen.
This new idea is based on the laser welding process where two pieces are welded together.
Surgeons reach the abdominal cavity through a small tube which they call a trocar. After the tissue is pierced, they pull out the suture thread with surgical forceps through the trocar and clipped onto the sleeve. The sleeve is pushed through the trocar, to get the right tension. When that has been achieved, the suture material is welded onto the sleeve through laser. The extra suturing material is cut off, after which the instrument is pulled out through the trocar. The sleeve remains inside the abdominal cavity.
Compared to traditional suturing, this method works out to be faster as suture tensions of zero to five newtons and a lasering time of 0.1 seconds have been reached.
Preclinical studies will help in verifying and establishing the efficacy of this device.