The current method for bone replacement surgery—to take a graft from elsewhere and transplant it—may become a thing of the past if new 3D-printed technology can come to market.
Research from the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus has demonstrated the use of patient-specific bone printing.
“Right now, the doctors use bone from another site of the body, which needs second surgery and with that comes risk of infection,” engineering student Hossein Montazerian explained to Metro News. “By 3D printing, we are going to design a new technology, a new approach in which the doctor takes the images of the damaged bone and then the doctor designs the bone that is required for the specific patient.”
Three-dimensional bone printing involves the use of a texture that mimics natural bone structure; it’s porous enough for bone cells to grow, ultimately creating a hybrid bone in the body that is part artificial and part natural, according to Montazerian.
If implemented, the student’s solution could aid people suffering from a variety of health issues, including bone cancer and osteoporosis.
Montazerian believes 3D-printed bones could become a healthcare reality within half a decade. For now, he’s refining his process and testing other potential materials.
His research was published in the July edition of published in Science Direct’s Materials and Design.