Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. (2014)

Sutures and staples are common tools that are used to stop bleeding, close wounds and repair organs in the surgical theatre. However, they are not so practical for inaccessible regions of the body and can be traumatic to tissues and organs. Polymer adhesives have been used as alternatives but are limited by poor strength, excessive swelling, and stringent storage and preparation steps. Now, Didier Letourneur, Ludwik Leibler and colleagues in France show that an aqueous solution of nanoparticles can rapidly close and heal deep wounds in the skin and liver without causing any inflammation.

The researchers applied, using a micropipette or brush, an aqueous solution of silica nanoparticles to a 1.5-cm-long and 3-mm-deep wound on the back of rats. The wound began to close after manually pressing the two edges of the wound together for one minute, and histological analysis after three days showed no infection or inflammatory reactions. The nanoparticle solution could also stop bleeding and seal deep incisions in the rat liver. Furthermore, when brushed onto the surface of the rat's heart, the nanoparticles were able to keep a three-dimensional biodegradable hydrogel scaffold firmly attached on the beating heart without any signs of inflammation even after three days.