Preparation of artificial matrices and investigation of their mechanical properties

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Supervisor:
Molnár Kristóf
SE Biomedical Engineering MSc

I joined to a project in the Laboratory of Semmelweis University, which aims to develop new types of hernia meshes for the treatment of abdominal hernia. In the case of abdominal hernia, the muscle tissue is discontinued due to an external force or illness and the intestines protrude, creating a sac between the muscle tissue and skin. As treatment surgeons implant a so called hernia mesh which covers the hole on the muscle tissue as well as gives mechanical support during healing. Even though hernia meshes can be very strong, their load bearing ability depends also on the stitches used for implantation as well. Therefore there is a need for the development of new test models to characterize the joint mechanical properties of stitches and hernia meshes in circumstances very close to those of actual surgery. Therefore the main goal of the research was to develop such methods and test them on the hernia meshes developed in the Laboratory of Nanochemistry as well as on other materials.

To accomplish this, sufficient amount of specimens required as well as the development of the mechanical testing methods.

I have successfully produced the meshes which will likely show relevant results. The consultation with Dr. Zoltán Kiss (Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Department of Polymer Engineering) led to the development of three distinct methods for the investigation of the mechanical properties: conventional tensile test; sutured PVA tensile test, where we hold the mesh with needles and draw it; and fracturing with orb, where the mesh is sutured inside a cylinder and an orb is pushed against it perpendicularly. For these experiments I have designed and manufactured the measuring parts and completed the first tests. According to the tests, sutured PVA tensile test method is not reliable and provided poorly reproducible results while fracturing with orb gave highly reproducible results both in case of latex and PVA meshes.

In the future I am planning to further investigate these research methods with more test specimens and the bond between geometric parameters, number of sutures and load. Besides that, I plan to test hernia meshes used in clinical practice.

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