Dr. Lev Podshivalov, Prof. Anath Fischer and Prof. Pinhas Bar-Yoseph are working in collaboration with a research group led by Dr. Cynthia Gomes of the BAM Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing in Berlin. The topic of their joint research is bone replacement parts from 3D printer.
This project was recently featured on German television.
Bone Replacement Parts from 3D Printer
Software controls construction of individualized parts
At the Federal Institute for Material Testing in Berlin, a method has been developed that will make it possible in the future for printers to create individualized pieces of bone for surgical use. This method requires a bioactive, regenerative ceramic material, a 3D printer for processing this ceramic material and software with which the porous structure of bone parts can be individually optimized on the basis of its sponge structure. Within a few years, this development may already be ready for use in dentistry.
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The newest generation of ceramic material is resorbable bioceramics. This material can be broken down in the body and is also bio-active. This means that the material stimulates cell growth in the body, triggering repair mechanisms. This material is ideally suited for use in regenerative medicine. Recently, granules of this material have begun to be used in oral surgery, thus easily repairing damaged jaw bone within certain limits.
On this basis, the BAM Federal Institute for Materials Testing has now developed a new material for skeleton parts made of ceramic, suitable for use in 3D printers. To use this ceramic material, the 3D printers used for the project had to be modified because ceramic is not currently a common material. The biocompatibility and bioactive effect of the ceramic material must be tested for the approval process. To this end, the BAM is working with the University of Marburg, where the material is already being tested in animal experiments on mice, rats and sheep.
What is essential for the new process is the software that controls the layer structure of the ceramic material in the printer. Currently, in simulating the bone structure of hip joints, the so-called standard geometry is used — a grid modeled on the porous bone structure yielding only a very rough approximation. In contrast, according to the project’s manager, Dr. Cynthia Gomes of BAM, a porous sponge structure is used as the basis. With the help of special software developed by the cooperation partner, the Technion in Israel, it is also possible to modify this sponge structure with real computerized tomography data of the bone structure of patients. The bone fragments so produced are much more compatible to the human body.
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