Israeli scientists says laser bonding of tissue allows much faster healing and less scarring. Amy Pollock has more.
**CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES** STORY: Humans have been stitching up their wounds for millennia. Now Israeli scientists say they've found a way to bond incisions using lasers. And in the future a handheld laser the size of a pen could do the job. Tel Aviv University Physicist Abraham Katzir led the project. HEAD OF THE APPLIED PHYSICS DEPARTMENT AT TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY PHYSICIST ABRAHAM KATZIR, SAYING: "What we developed is a special optical fibre that can both transmit the laser energy to a spot on an incision and carefully measure the temperature of that spot, so then we can monitor and control the temperature of that spot and this is something that others have not done yet." Controlling the temperature of the laser is important. Over 65 degrees celsius and tissue is damaged. Below 50 degrees and the tissue is not bonded. But the researchers can now heat incisions to the optimal 60 degrees with the crucial addition of collagen. Opthalmic Surgeon David Versano says the result beats traditional methods. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ICHILOVE MEDICAL CENTER OPHTHALMIC SURGEON DAVID VERSANO, SAYING: "We can get bonding to be probably much stronger than with sutures. We hope that the scarring will also be less than with sutures and eventually we get the safety of the procedure to be better." So far the team has tested their fibre on corneal incisions in eyes taken from pigs and cows, achieving a permanent, watertight bond with minimal tissue damage. In the future, the technique could be used for plastic surgery or microscopic repairs to internal blood vessels.