Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Kyyptonite is real… and heart surgeons use it to save lives

(PA Photo/thinkstockphotos)
(PA Photo/thinkstockphotos)

ONCE only found in pencil cases, toolboxes and cluttered kitchen drawers, modern glue has come a long way.

Every day, special variations of glue — often a type of acrylic resin called cyanoacrylate — are used to stick and seal in a wide variety of surgeries and treatments.

Here are just a few examples of the modern medical advantages of adhesive . . .

HEART SURGERY

If you thought Kryptonite was only found in Superman films, think again — it’s the name of a state-of-the-art glue that sticks the breastbone together after open heart surgery.

The Kryptonite has natural properties which promote bone healing, and using it means patients have fewer complications with bone stability and infections, says the Canadian cardiac surgeon Dr Paul Fedak who pioneered it.

VARICOSE VEINS

Around 15% of people in the UK have varicose veins, and another 15% have hidden varicose veins, which can’t be seen on the surface but can cause symptoms including swollen ankles, aching legs and leg ulcers.

Valves in normal veins pump blood back to the heart as people move, but with varicose veins, the valves stop working — so when people stand up, blood rushes the wrong way down the veins and hits the ankle. This stretches the vein walls, making them “varicose”.

Now a special type of superglue, VenaSeal, can also be used to stick together the veins that feed the blue, bulgy varicose veins, eventually making them disappear.

Vascular surgeon Professor Mark Whiteley, of The Whiteley Clinic in London, says: “The glue helps to close the main vein in the leg that causes varicose veins. The amount of glue that’s used is absolutely minuscule.”

He explains that a tube’s inserted into the vein and the patient’s tipped upside down, so the vein is empty. Pressure’s then applied to the vein, so it collapses and becomes very small, and a thin line of glue is applied.

OPEN WOUNDS

During the Vietnam War, glue was used successfully to seal wounds in field surgery, although it wasn’t officially approved.

Since then, however, skin glue is utilised regularly in UK A&E departments to heal minor cuts or wounds with a straight edge, in place of adhesive tape, staples or stitches.

A layer of skin glue takes just a few minutes to set, and will remain there for five to 10 days while the skin heals underneath.

BRAIN ANEURYSMS

Nearly 5,000 people a year in the UK suffer a burst brain aneurysm — a weak spot in a blood vessel that balloons.

The traditional treatment is invasive open surgery through large incisions in the skull, which carries a risk of damaging the brain or critical blood vessels.

But doctors can now use a new superglue-like fluid which, injected into the aneurysm, quickly solidifies and cuts off the blood supply.

Surgeons track long catheters from the femoral artery in the groin into the brain arteries, using x-rays to navigate. They fill the aneurysm with the glue-like fluid, which hardens when it hits the blood, preventing more filling the vessel.

FERTILITY TREATMENTS

A substance known as EmbryoGlue has been helping couples undergoing IVF fertility treatments.

The adhesive contains a substance called hyaluronan, which occurs naturally in the womb and ovaries, aiding the implantation of an embryo by making the area stickier.

Consultant gynaecologist Yacoub Khalaf, a spokesperson for the British Fertility Society, explains that a developing embryo can be cultured in an EmbryoGlue solution before being transferred to the uterus.

“This medium could enhance the embryo’s ability to attach itself to the lining of the uterus,” he says.

“Also, it’s been speculated that the high viscosity of the medium would reduce the risk of embryos failing out of the uterus after transfer.”