Medical gel is able to prevent scarring after sinus surgery

Sinus sufferers around the world could benefit from a new gel co-developed by Adelaide University, which prevents scarring after surgery.

The gel, derived from a polymer named chitosan and extracted from crab shell and squid, has been successfully trialled in sheep and humans over the past four years.

The wound dressing, which improves healing, controls bleeding and prevents adhesions (scars that can form at the surgical site) following sinus surgery, is the brainchild of medical researchers from Adelaide University, Otago University and Wellington-based Robinson Squidgel.

Medical technology company Medtronic purchased the patent for the nasal dressing in a deal with the three entities.

ENT surgeon Prof Peter-John Wormald from Adelaide University led the development of the product alongside his New Zealand colleagues Emeritus professor Brian Robinson from Otago University and his son, ENT surgeon Simon Robinson.

Wormald said the medical gel, which has important blood-clotting abilities, forms a coating over the wound to prevent scarring.

’Currently, up to one-third of all people who undergo sinus surgery experience blocked nasal passages afterwards due to scarring and this requires further surgery to correct,’ he added.

The gel is expected to benefit millions of people around the world who undergo endoscopic surgery for blocked sinuses.

’In the past, surgeons would pack the nose with ribbon gauze to stop the bleeding and prevent adhesions,’ said Wormald. ’Unfortunately, this was very uncomfortable and painful for patients. This new gel is placed into the sinuses after surgery and is very effective in controlling bleeding. The gel slowly dissolves over two weeks, allowing the sinuses to heal properly, preventing scar tissue from forming in the nose.’