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"Seams Easy" -- The Discovery Files

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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:


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.

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