A Solid Biodegradable Device for Use in Tissue Repair

Background Conventional methods for tissue repair involve sutures, staples, or clips. By their very nature, they result in a "foreign body" being left in the tissue. Tissue injury and foreign body reaction can give rise to such problems as inflammation, granuloma formation, scarring, and stenosis. In addition, none of these fasteners produce a watertight tissue seal.

Laser welding is an emerging technique used to bond the adjoining tissue. Compared with conventional tissue repair techniques, the laser welding technique offers reduced suture and needle trauma and reduced foreign body reaction, among other advantages. Unfortunately, the clinical use of this technology has been hindered by unreliable fusion strength, excessive thermal damage of tissue caused by direct laser heating, and technical difficulties associated with the procedure. The concept of using biological soldering provides another tissue repair technique that offers greater bond strength and lesser collateral thermal damage with a greater tolerance of variations in laser parameters. However, acceptable materials that will maximize tissue repair while minimizing adverse events have yet to be developed.

Invention Description This invention employs a light-activated device for use in laser-assisted tissue repair and synthetic polymers that can tailor to a wide range of tissue geometries. The device combines existing laser tissue soldering technology with a scaffold composed of polymer membranes formed using a solvent-casting and particulate-leaching technique.

Polymer materials have FDA approval for clinical procedures. Furthermore, the present invention provides a porous network into which traditional protein solders are readily absorbed, and degrades as need for the support diminishes. The solder and excipients are biocompatible, reducing foreign body reaction and minimizing infection exposure. The method provides for appropriate material shrinkage to maintain edge alignment, thus relieving the need for excessive stay-sutures often associated with laser tissue repair techniques. These novel solder-doped polymer scaffolds promise to greatly assist the wound healing process.


Membranes are easily fabricated Porous Shrinkage maintains edge alignment Biodegradable Controlled degradation rate Minimal foreign body reaction


Solvent-casting Particulate-leaching technique Controlled release of dopants

Market Potential/Applications The solder-doped membranes tailors to a wide range of clinical applications. Additionally, this device provides a quick and easy method for joining tissue in surgery, and has the potential to make patches to stop bleeding and repair tissue in emergencies.

Development Stage Lab/bench prototype

IP Status One U.S. patent issued: 6,391,049

UT Researcher Ashley J. Welch, Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin Karen M. McNally-Heintzelman, Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin Brian S. Sorg, Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin

Type of Offer: Licensing

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