Molecular Surgery Replaces the Knife

Molecular Surgery Replaces the Knife
An innovative new ‘molecular surgery’ could reshape cartilage without the need for scalpels and stitches.

The technique, developed by teams from the University of California, Irvine and Occidental College, involves inserting tiny needles into the cartilage and then passing a low current of electricity through the tissue. That current converts the water in the cartilage into oxygen and hydrogen ions (protons), which causes the rigid cartilage fibers to become soft enough to take the form of a chosen mold. The cartilage will stiffen into the shape of the mold when the current is removed, and the procedure can be performed in minutes as a low-cost office procedure with just local anesthesia.

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