Skip to main content
Email Print Share

"Seams Easy" -- The Discovery Files

The Discovery Files
Audio Play Audio
The Discovery Files podcast is available through iTunes or you can add the RSS feed to your podcast receiver. You can also access the series via AudioNow® by calling 641-552-8180 on any telephone.


An experimental device that employs a pair of magnets offers surgeons a new safe and simple alternative to standard methods for creating an anastomosis, a surgical connection between tubular anatomic structures. In its first proof-of-concept clinical trial in humans, the device was easy for surgeons to use, even with patients who required complicated surgical reconstruction.

Credit: NSF/Karson Productions

Audio Transcript:

Tubular.

I'm Bob Karson with the Discovery Files, from the National Science Foundation.

(Sound effect: operating room sounds, heart monitor) A common part of many surgical procedures involves connecting tubular structures such as blood vessels, urinary tract or bowel -- say, after removing part of an intestine and reconnecting the remaining ends. Creating the connection has been done the same way for about the last half-century: using sutures or surgical staples.

Now, an experimental device developed by the University of California, San Francisco, provides a safe, simple, time-saving way to join the two ends using the force of magnetic attraction. Called a Magnamosis™ device, it houses two magnets: one concave, one convex, so they fit smoothly together. The two are drawn to one another because they have different polarities.

A magnet is placed in each side of the tube to be connected. The magnets pull the two ends together, compressing the tissue between them and blocking blood flow. The tissue between the magnets dies off, and a hole forms where the dead tissue was. Once the surrounding area heals and the connection is fully formed, the magnets fall through the hole and are excreted by the body.

No sutures, no staples. And the procedure takes about 25 to 35 minutes. Patients in proof-of-concept clinical trials had no complications such as leaking or bleeding.

The Laws of Attraction, pulling together for the future of medicine.

"The discovery files" covers projects funded by the government's National Science Foundation. Federally sponsored research -- brought to you, by you! Learn more at nsf.gov or on our podcast.

 
General Restrictions:
Images and other media in the National Science Foundation Multimedia Gallery are available for use in print and electronic material by NSF employees, members of the media, university staff, teachers and the general public. All media in the gallery are intended for personal, educational and nonprofit/non-commercial use only.

Images credited to the National Science Foundation, a federal agency, are in the public domain. The images were created by employees of the United States Government as part of their official duties or prepared by contractors as "works for hire" for NSF. You may freely use NSF-credited images and, at your discretion, credit NSF with a "Courtesy: National Science Foundation" notation. Additional information about general usage can be found in Conditions.

Also Available:
Download the high-resolution JPG version of the image. (66.6 KB)

Use your mouse to right-click (Mac users may need to Ctrl-click) the link above and choose the option that will save the file or target to your computer.

MP3 icon
NSF podcasts are in mp3 format for easy download to desktop and laptops, as well as mobile devices capable of playing them.