Making Better Bone Implants Using a 3D Printer

Researchers at the University of Siegen are simulating bone breaks using computers, helping them optimize bone replacements created with a 3D printer.

An accident, a serious illness, or just wear and tear — in some cases a patient’s own bones simply cannot be rescued. An artificial replacement is needed. Titanium implants have proven themselves to be stable, robust, and durable.

In recent years understanding has grown that implants cannot be built in the same way as components for automobiles. They must instead be viewed as parts of an organism, interacting with the biological system and supporting its regeneration until the body is in a position to help itself. The latest trend in bone implants is thus to use a 3D printer capable of reproducing a highly complex micro-structure. This structure allows for the bone cells and blood vessels to grow into the implant and create a connection to the existing bone material.

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