5 Physical Problems Doctors Fix With Glue

Skin Grafts Sites
Staples and sutures could soon be a thing of the past when treating burn-damaged skin. ┬ęBSIP/UIG Via Getty Images

Skin grafts are an important part of burn therapy; they help keep internal tissues and organs from being exposed to unsavory environmental factors (such as infection and additional trauma) and stimulate wound healing and reduce scarring problems (such as the development of tight or shortened scar tissue).

Traditionally, grafts are closed and kept in place with sutures, staples or clips; ask anyone in the burn unit and you'll find that all have their drawbacks, including pain and potential for additional trauma during removal.

Your body already makes a type of natural adhesive, a 'biological glue' if you will, when healing itself. The lab-made replica is fibrin sealant, and it's made from the proteins fibrinogen and thrombin from donated human plasma. Fibrin sealants capitalize on the way the body naturally builds tissues, and temporarily secure the graft in place until new connective-tissue connections regrow as the wound heals.

A fibrin-based product -- marketed as Artiss -- is successfully used by burn surgeons to affix and fine-tune the placement of autologous skin grafts (the type of surgery where you're your own graft donor), especially in hard-to-treat or frequently-moved areas, as well as replace the need for sutures and staples near the burn site. Additionally, the fibrin glue is associated with lower incidence of infection in burn wounds.

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