Is 3D printing bones possible?

Up to now, 3D bone printing has involved producing material outside the patient’s body. But now a new technique developed at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, offers the prospect of doctors being able to create new bone tissue exactly where it is needed during a surgical operation.

What material is used for 3D printing bones?

Shah’s 3-D printed biomaterial is a mix of hydroxyapatite (a calcium mineral found naturally in human bone) and a biocompatible, biodegradable polymer. The material is majority hydroxyapatite, yet it is hyper-elastic, robust and porous at the nano, micro and macro levels.

What are the bone structures?

Bones consist of different types of tissue, including compact bone, spongy bone, bone marrow, and periosteum. All of these tissue types are shown in Figure below. Compact bone makes up the dense outer layer of bone. Its functional unit is the osteon. Compact bone is very hard and strong.

How much will 3D printed organs cost?

For example, according to the National Foundation for Transplants, a standard kidney transplant, on average, costs upwards of $300,000, whereas a 3D bioprinter, the printer used to create 3D printed organs, can cost as little as $10,000 and costs are expected to drop further as the technology evolves over the coming

What is the special about these 3D printed bones?

The 3D printing process has a very high accuracy, resulting in implants that fit perfectly onto the bone of the patient, as designed. Even very complex shapes and designs can be 3D printed; for example 3D printing enables the production of implants with engineered (controlled) porosity, similar to natural bone.


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