Most of us have had a broken bone at some point in our lives and we can all agree that it is not a pleasant feeling. Our skeletal system, though not fragile, is susceptible to an occasional crack or a full-blown broken bone.
Most fractured bones are just left alone to heal. Wearing a cast and popping painkillers seems to do the trick for most. But in some severe cases, metal plates or screws are needed to repair the bones, making the process painful and drawn out.
With growth in medical technology, 3D printing is seen as the future of manufacturing and is already a common addition to most colleges and laboratories.
Now a newly-developed 3-D printed ceramic implant not only helps mend broken bones, but it turns into natural bone to repair broken parts.
The implant was made by Hala Zreiqat, a professor and researcher at the University of Sydney, Australia, and her colleagues.
The material, which has been under the testing phase for a few years, has shown promising results in healing broken arm bones in rabbits.
Now, the team was successfully able to repair large leg fractures in sheep, displaying the superiority of ceramic 3-D printed implants over conventional fracture treatment.
The eight sheep in the study were able to walk with the implants immediately after surgery, with plaster casts helping stabilize their legs only for the first month.
The researchers saw complete healing in 25 per cent of the fractures after three months; the healing percentage stood at 88 after one year.
X-rays showed that as the real bones grew back, the ceramic implant blended into the bone, said a release by New Scientist.
Since the early 2010’s, scientists across the world have been experimenting with the potential uses of 3-D printing technology, especially in medicine.
By Suraj Radhakrishnan | International Business Times
Image Credit: Suraj Radhakrishnan/International Business Times