VIDEO: Researchers Create 3D Printed Bones Suitable for Use in Medical Procedures

by , 12/02/11
filed under: Design, Design for Health, News

3d bone, 3d printing, 3d printer, 3d printing medicine, medicine technology, bone technology, bone replacement technology, hip replacement technology, growing bone, growing new bones, bone growth technology, medical advancements, engineering and medicine, washington state university, wsu, wsu research, medical research

We’ve shown you 3D printed bone models, 3D printed human veins, and a printer that sprays new skin cells on burn victims – but we have to say this latest advancement is the most impressive use for 3d printing yet. Researchers at Washington State University have successfully 3D printed human bones that are suitable for use in orthopedic and dental procedures, as well as for delivering medicine for patients with osteoporosis. Watch a video of the incredible 3D printer in action after the jump!

This incredible feat is the result of a partnership between chemistry, materials science, biology, and manufacturing researchers at WSU. The team created a 3D printer from scratch that is capable of printing a scaffolding made of calcium phosphate, which can be used to grow bone cells in practically any shape. Once implanted — they’ve only tested this in small animals so far — the scaffolding dissolves, leaving only the new bone matter behind with no apparent ill effects.

Though the researchers haven’t been able to make a bone that is capable of bearing a lot of weight — like a tibia or femur — they’ve been able to successfully increase the strength of the bone by adding silicon and zinc to the calcium phosphate scaffolding. Once the scaffolding is complete it is submerged in a medium with immature human bone cells, and within a week it supports a new network of bone. The doctors are able to create a bone from the information gathered from any CT scan, making it possible to even create replicas of bones with defects for patients with abnormalities in their bone structure. This technology could revolutionize the way that surgeries like hip replacements are carried out. Susmita Bose, the co-author of the research and a professor in WSU’s School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering envisions that in ten to twenty years, physicians and surgeons will be able to custom order bones for patients by sending in computer data from a CT scan.

+ Washington State University

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  1. Tafline Laylin October 22, 2014 at 10:53 am

    I’m sorry to hear about your bone. This is a media site… I would encourage you to talk to your medical professionals instead of us. But I can say that other people have received a lot of medical help thanks to 3D printing; I hope this helps and best of luck to you.

  2. mrmartinstenger October 14, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    To whom it may concern
    I am 53 yrs old and have had no tibia in my leg for thirty years due to cancer in the bone. The cancer has been long gone, but I still don’t have a bone in my leg. I was wondering if my bone could be replaced with 3d printing a bone for me is possible. I can be reached at 619-829-4915 Or my email I would gladly participate in some kind of procedure as long as it works. Thank you.

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