On average, patients who contract surgical-site infections (SSIs) remain hospitalized seven days longer than those who do not. They are also 60% more likely to spend time in the intensive care unit, five times more likely to be readmitted within 30 days of discharge, and have a higher rate of mortality. With these figures in mind, Kimberly-Clark Health Care (Roswell, GA; www.kimberly-clark.com), along with codeveloper Medlogic Global Ltd. (Plymouth, Devon, UK; www.medlogic.com), set out to develop a sealant and applicator that could help to ward off SSIs. The result of their combined effort is the InteguSeal microbial sealant.
Skin flora contamination is a major contributing factor to SSIs. By its very nature, skin is unsterilizable, so common means of defending against microbials don’t apply to surgical sites. Rather than sterilize the incision area, the InteguSeal’s fast-drying, film-forming compound provides a barrier that protects against skin flora migration into the incision. When applied to a surgical site immediately before the incision is made, the compound immobilizes and seals areas vulnerable to bacteria.
“A key feature is that [the IntiguSeal] can be used against a variety of different pathogens, including MRSA, S. epidermidis, and E. coli,” says Judson Boothe, marketing director for the healthcare unit of Kimberly-Clark. “Also, it uses a unique mechanical mode of acting on the skin that does not promote bacterial resistance.”
A cyanoacrylate tissue adhesive is the InteguSeal’s enabling agent. It is a polymer-based wound glue and a particular specialty of Medlogic, which focuses exclusively on the wound-care sector. For the InteguSeal project, the company also pitched in to design and manufacture the sealant’s applicator. “It provides a uniform distribution of the compound onto the skin,” says Richard Stenton, technical director at Medlogic. “It works somewhat similarly to a syringe and is quick to apply so that it can be easily integrated with existing surgical prep procedures.”
If necessary, soapy water, minerals, or acetone can be used to remove InteguSeal’s sealant but, ordinarily, it gradually wears off as the skin exfoliates over three to seven days. The sealant is compatible with most standard hospital techniques and materials, including electrocautery, defibrillation, surgical incise drapes, surgical preps, sutures, staples, and wound adhesives.
The InteguSeal is currently available on both the European and North American markets.