3D printer 'could be used to create cartilage for surgery'

22 November 2012

A three-dimensional printer could in the future be used to simply the process of creating cartilage to be implanted in injured patients.

Scientists developed a printer that was able to create cartilage constructs that could eventually be implanted into patients to help cartilage re-growth in certain areas, according to research published in journal Biofabrication.

The printer combines the technique of a traditional ink jet printer with an electrospinning machine, enabling scientists to create a structure made from natural and synthetic materials.

Electro spinning allowed the researchers to easily control the composition of polymers, producing porous structures which encourage cells to integrate into surrounding tissue.

James Yoo, professor at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and study author, commented: "This is a proof of concept study and illustrates that a combination of materials and fabrication methods generates durable implantable constructs.

"Other methods of fabrication, such as robotic systems, are currently being developed to further improve the production of implantable tissue constructs."

Posted by Jeanette Royston

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