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3D Printing of Bone

Credit: belekekin/Adobe

Credit: belekekin/Adobe

By Naomi Paxton

Hospitals are establishing 3D printing facilities that will make patient-specific bone tissue substitutes widely available.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Over the past decade, 3D printing has been making waves in many industries, from 3D printing mechanical parts for rockets and aircraft to large-scale 3D printing of low-cost housing and on-demand 3D printing of food and form-fitting fashion. The ability to extrude, deposit, bind or melt materials layer-by-layer into 3D structures offers a range of benefits over traditional subtractive manufacturing methods and injects personalisation and customisation into automated manufacturing.

This is highly advantageous for medical applications. To date, approaches to healthcare treatment have been largely divided into either personalised solutions that are expensive and/or labour-intensive, or automated solutions where the mass manufacture of everything from medical devices and implants to surgical tools and prosthetics provides lower cost “off-the-shelf” or “one-size-fits-all” approaches. However, the advantages of both approaches can be combined by introducing 3D printing, more generally known as additive manufacturing, to automatically print one-off products to suit individual patients.

This revolution in manufacturing opens many doors in the development of strategies to solve major challenges in healthcare. For example, large bone defects remain a significant clinical challenge. Following traumatic accidents, congenital birth abnormalities or the excision of...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.