Superflexible, 3-D printed “bones” trigger new growth | Science News

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Superflexible, 3-D printed “bones” trigger new growth

Material could help surgeons replace damaged or broken bones

By
7:00am, October 11, 2016
3-D printed bone scaffolds

BONE UP   New 3-D printed bone scaffolds, such as this one of human vertebrae, may speed up the healing process, researchers say.

Hyperelastic bone
\ˈhī-per ə̇ˈlastik bōn\ n.

A highly flexible 3-D printed scaffold used to repair broken or damaged bones.

“Hyperelastic bones” don’t impart Stretch Armstrong abilities, but they could give surgeons a quick, inexpensive way to repair bone breaks. Created by Ramille Shah, a materials science engineer at Northwestern University in Chicago, and colleagues, the new superflexible material can be 3-D printed into femurs, skullcaps and other bone shapes.

The durable material is a mix of an elastic polymer plus hydroxyapatite, a calcium mineral found in human bones and teeth. Once implanted, the material’s mineral makeup encourages real bone to start growing within a month to replace the scaffold, the team reported in the Sept. 28 Science Translational Medicine.

So far, the “bones” have been tested

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