Science 2 min read

New Molecular Surgery Uses Electricity to Shape Your Face

In a surprising discovery, researchers have managed to manipulate cartilage using an electric current. With this breakthrough, surgeons can now perform molecular surgery on patients without ever having to make an incision.

This new form of molecular surgery can augment a person's appearance without ever having to make an incision. ¦ Shutterstock

This new form of molecular surgery can augment a person's appearance without ever having to make an incision. ¦ Shutterstock

Minimally invasive surgeries come with a lot of advantages. Aside from the small incision which leads to less pain, the patient can recover faster and have a shorter hospital stay.

As great as this form of surgery is, it’s still, well, invasive. That means surgeons still have to make incisions to do their job. Yet, this form of surgery is the safest option – or is it?

Using electrical current and 3D printed molds, medical professionals have figured out how to soften and re-shape cartilage. That means incisions are no longer necessary in procedures that involve cartilage. Furthermore, surgeons can complete a procedure within five minutes.

But, how exactly does it work?

Taking the Pain out of Surgery

When the cartilage that shapes our nose and other features is subjected to an electrical current, it becomes more malleable. As a result, surgeons can reshape it to perform nose jobs and other medical procedures that previously required scalpels.

Creating a new surgical procedure wasn’t deliberate. According to the American Chemical Society (ACS) press release, the scientist previously heated cartilage with infrared lasers.

But it didn’t work as they had hoped. Not only was it too expensive, but it often killed the tissue during the heating process. So, the scientists decided to try electricity. And, to their surprise, it worked.

Rather than heat the cartilage, the electric charge unbalanced the electrically-charged ions that hold the cartilage together. As such, it loosens up enough to enable reshaping.

Michael Hill, Ph.D., one of the project’s principal investigators noted:

“If you picked it up, the strands wouldn’t fall apart, but it would be floppy”

The Implication of the Shocking Discovery

The most obvious application here is cosmetic surgery, where surgeons can reshape noses and other features. But, it could extend beyond that.

The scientists suggest that the molecular surgery technique could repair a deviated septum or restore function to stiff joints. Eventually, the procedure could be applied in other areas as well, such as repairing corneas and improving eyesight.

With that said, the researchers have only just tested the electrical procedure on a rabbit – using it to bend the bunny’s ear. So, human applications for this molecular surgery are still years down the line.

Read More: Researchers Develop New Device To Minimize Scarring in Cosmetic Surgery

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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    Claire Smith April 08 at 2:45 pm GMT

    To take the knife out in surgery is a very awesome discovery. Are these mild electric pulses has no side effect?

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