In yet another 3D printing-based medical breakthrough, medical product developers Xtant Medical Holdings, Inc has teamed up with the Montana State University Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering to create a 3D printer capable of 3D printing ‘resorbable bone grafts’. That is, grafts that can be broken down and absorbed into the body. That’s right. This collaborative effort has produced a printer capable of printing bone grafts that can actually be used in reconstructive surgery on bones and joints.
The custom 3D printer was made by a team of MSU student engineers, utilizing a grant from Bacterin (a subsidiary of Xtant Medical) and support from their R&D team. Their medical-grade printer is capable of printing personalized bone grafts made for each individual’s issue, helping to fix the bones for specific reconstructive needs. Bone grafting is an intensive surgery to repair fractured or damaged bones or joints, and can sometimes be limited by the amount of bone each patient has to spare. But with MSU’s breakthrough machine, the ability to create a resorable bone material will help to relieve those material limitations.
“The production of a custom 3D printer capable of printing bone constructs for the medical needs of patients supports our interest in further investigating the possibilities in this space,” said Daniel Cox, Bacterin’s Product Development Specialist. “Additionally, it was a pleasure to work with Montana State University on this project, lending support to our local community and strengthening our relationship with an incredible engineering institution.”
The ability to bioprint usable bone and joint material has seen progress from all over the world, from Japan to Spain, and now MSU has contributed their breakthrough research in the medical race to 3D print reconstructive parts for the human body. I’d imagine the news must be music to the ears of reconstructive surgeons, who may now have the ability to print bone material for the most intensive and dire operations.