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Self-Sutures: New material knots up on its own

Researchers have used a new biodegradable material to make surgical sutures that knot and tighten themselves as they warm to body temperature.

The new material could help surgeons working in tight spaces within the body, says Robert Langer of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. Surgeons might loosely stitch a suture and then let the polymer tighten itself. Eventually, doctors may insert through a tiny incision a compressed implant made of the new material that will expand into a predetermined shape, such as a short tube, or stent, that holds open a blood vessel.

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