If you want to fix a busted femur the new fashioned way, it might start off a little squishy. 'Hyperelastic Bone' is a newly proposed method for healing bone, and it has some particularly modern elements. First off it's 3D printed, and second it's a lot softer than the bones you've got. The flexible biomaterial can be printed into patient-specific structures, and produced at a reported rate of 275 square centimeters per hour. It's made from an elastic polymer, plus calcium mineral found in human bones and teeth.
3D printed bone scaffold for vertibrae
Once in the body, it acts as a soft, porous and nonreactive scaffold that shores up the bone while allowing for blood flow. In the lab, the material's composition helped promote bone and tissue regrowth in mice and rats, with few indications of rejection. Though forgiving, the material can withstand loads up to 150 pounds. And thanks to the material's flexibility, surgeons can install it without glue or more invasive attachments.
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These features could make surgeries on damaged, broken and deformed bones simpler and more likely to promote long-term healing.
The innovative material was spearheaded by a team at Northwestern University in Chicago, and outlined in Science Translational Medicine. If things go right, being rubber legged after surgery might be a great road to recovery.