Researchers from the Northwestern University have created 3D-printed artificial bones. According to them, it is easier for the patients to recover this way and the printer can be manipulated with no problem during a surgery. This could be one of the best discoveries that were made.
The artificials bones can be cut, folded or even sutured to tissues. Moreover, this alternative seems to be cheaper and more effective when it comes to bone grafts. And these are not the only benefits 3D-Printed artificial bones have. Researchers said that the bones are able to avoid inflammation and also allow blood vessels to grow. The material does not need to be cured by heat. It will be a good choice for all people who need bone grafts after an accident.
At the moment, surgeons are using ceramic fillers made of hydroxyapatite. This has the calcium and phosphate every bone should have. Even though it helps us, there are some disadvantages with this material. First of all, it is difficult for a surgeon to modify them without breaking them. There are more flexible options, which have some granules, but they are washed away by blood flow during surgery. Another problem would be that some of these materials are too dense so the body is not able to integrate the graft.
Even though the 3D-Printed artificial bones have 90% hydroxyapatite, the 10% is making the difference. They are also made of a soft polymer which allows the bones to be flexible. Moreover, the material gives enough space for the bones to bend and then recover without breaking. Researchers are also hoping that this technology will help those who are born with craniofacial birth defects. They also want to introduce antibiotics or other drugs into the bone. This way, they will reduce the chances of infection and the bone will grow easier.
These artificial bones are not on the market, so we will have to wait. The scientists want to make them an affordable options for all the patients and are looking for cheaper materials. In the future, we could be able to have printed bones that are more effective that what is used at the moment. Researchers have already developed 3D-printed splints for babies and fake brains to study how our mind works. Artificial bones are just an example of how much the technology has developed.
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