The new hydrogel, discovered by researchers in Oxford, an expanding gel which inflates under skin, can be used as a means to heal common birth defects such as webbed fingers and a cleft palate.

This is designed to be placed next to major cleft or wound where it can expand, encouraging the skin to grow in and around it.

This excess skin can be used by surgeons to close the wound, reduce scarring and avoid the need for grafts that will be taken from other parts of the body.

This new discovery can help improve the disfiguring appearance of thousands due to scars, wounds and burns.

Records show that one in every 700 children in Britain suffers from cleft lip or palate which causes difficulties in eating or speaking if not corrected through surgery.

The conventional process of surgery involves the closing of gap with the use of stitches, but babies with this defect require radical surgery and may suffer from other complications. One of this is fistula, a hole between the mouth and nasal passage which may produce other more complications.

Studies have shown that the new material can absorb water from the body and has the potential to expand to 1,500 percent from its original size.

It can set to grow slowly in one direction, encouraging the skin to grow around the palate - a process identified as tissue expansion.

When enough tissue has been created around the cleft palate, the plate is removed and the cleft is further repaired by using additional tissue.

Experts hope to publish the results later this year, and if further tests are successful, the first clinical trials in patients will commence early next spring.