According to a recent Medgadget article, scientists at EMPA have developed a surgical sealant that can detect intestinal leaks after gastrointestinal surgery. The sealant is a polymer patch that reacts to pH changes in leaked intestinal fluid, producing bubbles within its structure. This physical change can be visualized using ultrasound or CT scans, providing early warning of potential leaks. The patch is flexible and can also change shape in response to intestinal fluid, allowing clinicians to identify leaky stitches.
The patch can also release drugs, such as antibiotics, if necessary. This innovation offers a non-invasive method to monitor patients and detect leaks without reopening the surgical site. A video with more information can be seen here.