You must be aware of the different types of printers and their usage. You must also be aware about the amazing 3D printers that are now available in the market. But have you thought about the possibilities that can be there using these printers. Astounding! Now repairing bones would soon be possible with 3D printers. A team of researchers at Washington State University say that they have used a 3D printer to produce a three-dimensional synthetic material that could aid in repairing damaged parts of bones. It can prove to be highly effectual in orthopedic procedures, treating osteoporosis and creating teeth for dental work. When paired with the actual bone, the bone-like material act as a scaffold and helps in the growth of new bone cells. Ultimately it gets dissolved without any noticeable ill effects or reaction.
"If a doctor has a CT scan of a defect, we can convert it to a CAD file and make the scaffold according to the defect," Susmita Bose, study co-author and Washington State University professor, said in the news release.
Latest discoveries on the striking technology are comprehensively reported in the journal Dental Materials. According to the author of the journal, successful testing has been already done on rabbits and rats. The journal also has a brief description on how the addition of silicon and zinc doubled the strength of calcium phosphate, which can help cure bone injuries.
“While this new development could completely change the way we deal with bone diseases and injuries, it may take a long time before it becomes a viable option for treatment. The way I envision it is that 10 to 20 years down the line, physicians and surgeons should be able to use these bone scaffolds along with some bone growth factors, whether it is for jaw bone fixation or spinal fusion fixation," Bose says.
The team worked for about a year on a ProMetal 3D printer during this research. The 3-D printer works by creating bone bridges. These bridges acts as a wireframe to let the new bone mass grow.
For instance, if a person is suffering from hip fracture, the surgeon may place bridges. The bridges would be made with a fine, three-dimensional synthetic material/ceramic powder, which would be coated with plastic, layer by layer, by the printer. As per the directions given by a computer, it makes a channeled cylinder. In 5-7 days new bone cells will start to mature around it. This may prove to be an alternative treatment to the artificial replacement that surgeons can implement to encourage the growth of natural bones.
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