Anyone who has broken a bone knows that it takes a while to mend. What if there was a way to fix broken bones in just five minutes using glue?! A new study out of Sweden found this might just be the case! Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Dave Shukla joins The Doctors to explain.
The research group tested this glue, a variant on a glue being used in dentistry for years, on a group of rats. Historically, glue hasn’t been strong enough to fix bones but this glue, which was 55% stronger than the dental variety, did work in this study.
Fractures were created in the animal’s bones and then researchers laid down the glue and allowed it to seep into pores. They then used a fibrous patch on top of the glue to reinforce it, and then they added a few more layers. They allowed the glue to dry for over five minutes. Then, the rats were observed for five weeks.
Researchers stimulated what physical therapy would be like for a patient. They bent, twisted and rotated bones and then after five weeks observed the bones under a microscope. Dr. Shukla says there were two exciting findings. One was that the glue was not toxic to the tissue or the other cells in that area. The second finding was that the bones did not move relative to each other very much which is a key concept in fracture healing.
While it’s very early to say, Dr. Shukla believes there is promise in this study. Long-term data is needed as well as a study with humans. ER physician Dr. Travis Stork questions if this glue would be useful for smaller, hairline fractures or for the prevention of them in patients with osteoporosis. Dr. Shukla explains those scenarios may not need surgery and to use this glue, a surgery has to be performed.
Who knows, maybe one day, “sign my cast” will be a thing of the past!