Using CT data, doctors in Japan are implanting individually crafted replacements for skull bones. In a new clinical study of 70 adults over the next two years, the researchers will evaluate whether the new 3-D printed material can be clinically beneficial.
It can match the complicated structures of the jaw, cheek and other parts of the skull down to one millimetre (0.039 of an inch), a level significant enough to make a difference in human faces, researchers told AFP.
“It can also be replaced by your own bone, which wasn’t possible before” with conventional sintered ceramic bones, said Tsuyoshi Takato, an orthopedic surgeon and professor at the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Medicine.
The implants are currently limited to use in the skull because, unlike limbs, they do not have to carry the body weight.
The custom-made bones are created from the calcium phosphate powder and a solidifying liquid which is more than 80 percent distilled water, using computer-assisted design.
In the same way that an ink-jet printer propels droplets onto a piece of paper, a device squirts the liquid on a 0.1-millimetre-thick layer of the powder to form a desired shape.
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