3D Printing For Bone Implants
The future of artificial bones lies within the realms of 3D printing according to the researchers at the Tissue Engineering Department at the University of Tokyo Hospital. They have teamed up with venture capitalists Next 21 to use specialised inkjet printers to print custom artificial bones for implants.
Below is an excerpt from Ponoko website detailing the process
“First, the patient’s actual bone structure is scanned with X-ray and CT scanners. The resulting data is combined to make a three-dimensional computer model of the bone; a set of cross-sections is sent to the special 3D inkjet printer. The 3D inkjet printer prints onto thin layers of powdered alpha-tricalcium phosphate (alpha-TCP); the printer “ink” is a water-based polymer that hardens the alpha-TCP. Successive laydowns of powder and polymer “prints out” the bone cross-sections to an accuracy of one millimeter.”