Surgical stitches may one day be replaced by a double-sided sticky tape that can seal wounds together in as little as five seconds.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientists proved the tape worked after they tested it on 'challenging' wounds in rats and pigs.
The tape – which engineers created after taking inspiration from spiders – 'easily sealed' fragile tissues such as the lung as well as the intestines.
Experts say it could prove life-saving in preventing leaks following gastric surgery, which can lead to sepsis and other deadly complications.
Dr Xuanhe Zhao, an engineer who helped create the tape, said: 'There are over 230 million major surgeries all around the world per year.
'Many of them require sutures to close the wound, which can actually cause stress on the tissues and can cause infections, pain, and scars.'
Dr Zhao added: 'We are proposing a fundamentally different approach to sealing tissue.