In plastic surgery the task to change the hard cartilage, e.g. in the nose, always created a number of difficulties. If not cut, do not apply mechanical impacts, only to warm up the cartilage to soften, and then to change its shape. Today, we use laser, but there is always the risk of exceeding the temperature and destroy living cells.
The team of two doctors, Brian Wong and Michael hill, has developed an alternative processing technique of the cartilage, which they called “molecular surgery”. The problem is still the same – to soften the cartilage, only now everything is happening at the micro level. To get started in fabric inserted a tiny needle electrodes, which is passed a weak electric current.
Current electrifies the water in the cartilage and it is split into oxygen ions and hydrogen. The latter have a positive charge, and therefore interact with negatively charged proteins in a tough collagenous fibers. The charge density of the fibers decreases, the links between them are destroyed and the result is a pliable mass into a biopolymer shell. It remains only to place the soft cartilage in three-dimensional form and to clean the electric current – electrolysis stopped, and the fabric will once again be tough, but with a new shape.
In laboratory experiments, scientists have successfully changed the shape of the cartilage in the ears of Guinea pigs. The procedure is quick, simple and performed under local anesthesia. There is every chance that in the modified embodiment, the method can be applied to handle any other parts of the body, which are based on collagen. And it’s much less traumatic and more convenient than using a scalpel.
Source — American Chemical Society