Bone damage is some pretty bad news. It’s hard to replace bone, and the replacements often aren’t nearly as good: ask anybody with a chunk of steel where their femur should be. But better fake bone might soon be coming courtesy of…3D printers?
Yep, not only are 3D printers involved, they’re actually an ideal solution. Washington State University researchers have been testing a printed “bone-like” material on animals and the results are so promising, custom bone orders may be possible in as little as a few years. The material acts as a scaffold and new bone grows over it, with the scaffold dissolving and zero side effects.
How precise is the design? If a doctor sends them a CT scan of the injured area, they can convert it to a CAD file and dump it in the print hopper.
The world is just awesome sometimes.
[ via the WSU News Center ]