What if you could 3D print custom bone implants?

After trauma or disease, a portion of a patient’s bone may need to be surgically removed so it can be replaced or regenerated. Thanks to 3D printing, we can manufacture individualized, custom implants that enhance bone growth and degrade as the patient heals. We start with an MRI or CT scan from the patient and design a porous structure that exactly fits the gap. As the patient’s own bone tissue re-grows, it gradually fills in the pores in the implant. Our printed implant is made of a degrading polymer and a bioactive ceramic that will eventually leave no trace in the patient: it breaks down as it is replaced by newly generated bone.

Kasper Dienel, PhD student

Bas van Bochove, postdoc