In the US, scientists have designed a super-grip plaster, which is covered with microscopic needles, to heal surgical wounds.
The "bed-of-needles" patch, which has been inspired by a parasitic worm that lives in the guts of fish and clings on them using its cactus-like spikes, fixes skin grafts firmly in place without any need of staples, the BBC reported.
AdvertisementThe creators have said that the patch is thrice as strong as the materials currently used for burns patients.
The Boston team based at Brigham and Women's Hospital said that the four-sq-cm patch can also deliver therapeutic drugs via its tiny needles.
Most self-adhesive bandages stick poorly to wet skin and though staples and stitches help anchor dressings and skin grafts they inevitably cause trauma to the tissue.
To get round this problem, Dr Jeffrey Karp and his team looked at a parasitic worm called Pomphorhynchus laevis, which anchors itself to the slippery surface of the host's intestine using micro-needle tips that pierce the surface and then, once wet, swell to lock tight.
This means that the needles cause little damage as they go in, yet achieve maximum grip.
Karp's patch mimics the action using minute needles made of plastic with tips that are rigid when dry but swell once they pierce wet tissue.
Karp said that when the adhesive is removed there is less trauma inflicted to the tissues, blood and nerves compared to staples as well as a reduced risk of infection.
The research has been published in Nature Communications journal.