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Smartgels can avoid surgery for chronic lower back pain patients

University of Manchester scientists have figured out that injections of sponge-like particles could help in avoiding surgery required in case of chronic lower back pain. The researchers have developed tiny gel particles which when injected into the damaged area tend to swell and stiffen. It has been discovered that degenerated animal intervertebral discs having these injected microgels regained their mechanical properties. If this turns out to be successful then patients would be able to gain their mobility after receiving these injections. When dispersed in water the microgel particles turn into smart sponges. It is a low pH fluid which can be injected with the aid a syringe and at physiological pH values it turns to stiff gel. It was developed in response to the need for non surgical method for repairing of intervertebral discs. In the future we might see biodegradable microgels releasing additives for stimulation of regeneration of intervertebral disc tissue. Via biologynews