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Brief Published: 22 Dec 2011

Printed Bones


Researchers from Washington State University have successfully used 3D printing technology to create a bone-like material suitable for use in orthopaedic procedures and dental work.

When paired with actual bone, the material acts as a scaffold for new bone to grow on, and then dissolves with no negative side effects. The printer has an inkjet that sprays a plastic binder over a bed of powder in layers half the width of a human hair.

Susmita Bose, professor of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at the university, says: “If a doctor has a CT (computed tomography) scan of a defect, we can convert it into a CAD (computer-aided design) file and make the scaffold according to the defect.” This medical breakthrough could see doctors custom ordering replacement bone tissue in the near future.

Medical Materials