Hydrogel to Reduce Discomfort of Surgical Tubing

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Intravenous lines and catheters are types of surgical tubing which are medical necessities for managing a wide range of diseases. However, the experience of a patient with devices such as these is seldom comfortable. Thus, to solve this problem, MIT engineers have designed a gel like substance, which can be coated on standard rubber device or plastic device. This provides a softer and slippery exterior and can ease a patient’s discomfort. The coating can also be tailored and used for monitoring and treating infections. The team describes their method for bonding a layer of hydrogel. Hydrogel is a slippery, squishy material comprising of water mostly and this improves the comfort level of patients.

This gel is impermeable to viruses. The hydrogel coating is embedded with compounds such as inflammatory molecules. Drugs are slowly released from this hydrogel coating and treat the body’s inflammation.

Hydrogel on Condoms to Combat Friction and Improve Safety

The coatings are durable and can withstand twisting, bending, and cracking. It exhibits less friction than standard uncoated catheters, which again reduces the discomfort of the patients. The team has also used hydrogel in condoms and this enhances the comfort of latex condoms by reducing friction, and also improves their safety as hydrogel can be embedded with drugs to combat allergy by latex. Hydrogel has the potential to replace common elastomers. They have devised a method to integrate gels with other materials.

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