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Biodegradable Skin Staple! KMU Earned Major Recognition in the Annual Main Event of Plastic Surgery

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Left to right: Dr. Yur-Ren Kuo, Dr. Yu-Chi Wang, and Dr. Yi-Chia Wu couple

A plastic surgery team from Kaohsiung Medical University (KMU) in Taiwan participated in Plastic Surgery The Meeting 2022, an annual premier event for plastic surgery in the United States, and their presentation of “In Vitro and In Vivo Studies on the Biosafety and Efficacy of Biodegradable Magnesium Alloy for Skin Staple” was honored with the Most Outstanding Award.

The 2022 meeting was held in Boston, with the participation of physicians and professionals from more than 70 countries. KMU’s team was selected from more than 1,600 submissions for its research on the biocompatibility and safety of absorbable metallic materials in skin suture staples, which is expected to reduce pain, residual staples or the risk of infection associated with existing skin sutures. 

Related article: Taiwan’s AMS BioteQ Develops a New Antimicrobial Dressing Which Accelerates Diabetes Wound Healing 

Enormous Demand in the Surgical Market

Traumatic lacerations remain a common cause of emergency department (ED) visits in the United States. It is estimated that 7 to 9 million wounds are treated in EDs every year, accounting for approximately 8.2% of ED visits. In terms of wound closure methods, there are four major categories: surgical sutures, surgical staples, wound closure strips (Steri-Strips), and dermal adhesives (skin glues). Among them, surgical sutures and surgical staples constitute the majority, representing a large and fast-growing market for a wide range of surgical instruments.

Biodegradable Metal Material that Solves Shortcomings of Stainless Steel Staples

Regarding the market for skin staples, the use of stainless steel staples has not changed much in the past three decades, and these products are primarily known for their convenience and speed of operation. However, despite the ease of use, there are still some shortcomings with stainless steel surgical staples. Since stainless steel cannot be broken down by the human body, it can cause pain and infection in some patients and a return visit is required to remove the surgical staples. Also, in the absence of anesthesia at the time of removal, these may cause increased patient distress. In addition, stainless steel may interfere with CT or MRI scans, such as CT scans in patients with head and neck cancer, which can affect diagnosis and interpretation.

The skin staples presented by the KMU team are made of a novel magnesium alloy material with biodegradable properties. Based on the data provided by KMU, it will be decomposed and absorbed in 2 to 3 weeks. Therefore, it has the advantage of being developed as a new type of skin staple material and has great potential in both healthcare and veterinary markets.

Dr. Yi-Chia Wu, MD, PhD presented KMU’s biodegradable skin staples in Plastic Surgery The Meeting 2022

The advantages of using magnesium alloy staples include bio-absorbability, good ductility of the material, and stronger retention of fixation than conventional staples. In terms of wound healing, further clinical trials are to be conducted for testing the clinical safety and effectiveness of magnesium alloy materials, with the hope of achieving the goal of eliminating the pain of the removal process and the problem of infection caused by the residual metal staples after surgery. The biodegradable and absorbable properties of magnesium alloy staples not only reduce the time for wound healing, but also minimize patients’ inconvenience in visiting hospitals for staple removal, making the new material more patient-friendly.

3 Major Applications for New Skin Staples

The team’s abstract presenter Dr. Yi-Chia Wu, MD, PhD, stated that they have not observed any adverse reactions in animal trials and expect that the new application of magnesium alloy material will pass human clinical trials in the future, allowing doctors to spend less time on suturing wounds and reducing subsequent adverse reactions and residual effects.

Dr. Wu pointed out that this product may be used in three major applications in the future. Firstly, it can be used in emergency departments for wound management. Dr. Wu pointed out that this product may be used in three major applications in the future. Firstly, it can be used in emergency departments for wound management. Secondly, it can meet the needs of children who need to spend a long time on surgical suturing and reduce their severity of pain. Thirdly, it can be used in the veterinary market, which is relatively diverse. Looking ahead, it is worth conducting further in-depth research and analysis to explore more new applications.

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