Light and nanotechnology combined to prevent b…

Light and nanotechnology combined to prevent biofilms on medical implants

Invented approximately 50 years ago, surgical medical meshes have become key elements in the recovery procedures of damaged-tissue surgeries, the most frequent being hernia repair. When implanted within the tissue of the patient, the flexible and conformable design of these meshes helps hold muscles tight and allows patients to recover much faster than through the conventional sowing and stitching surgery.

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However, the insertion of a medical implant in a patient’s body carries alongside the risk of bacterial contamination during surgery and subsequent formation of an infectious biofilm over the surface of the surgical mesh. Such biofilms tend to act like an impermeable coating, impeding any sort of antibiotic agent to reach and attack the bacteria formed on the film in order to stop the infection. Thus, antibiotic therapies, which are time-limited, could fail against these super resistant bacteria and the patient could end up in recurring surgeriesthat could even lead to death. As a matter of fact, according to the European Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Network (EARS-Net), in 2015 more than 30,000 deaths in Europe were linked to infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

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