You have now watched interviews with two surgeons who are at the forefront in the field of bioprinting, talk about how they used the innovative technologies coupled with their own expertise to treat challenging conditions.
What if a patient suffering from osteoporosis could have their tibia scanned, replicated using fresh defect free bone, and then replaced? The ability to print bone would revolutionise orthopaedic care. In youth, we think of our skeleton as our strength and our core. The truth is every step we take may be wearing down that strength, eroding our scaffold from within.
Our susceptibility to a loss in bone density (known as osteoporosis) is steeped in our evolutionary history. Humans have less dense bones than other primates, a trade-off for the improved flexibility and lighter skeleton required to walk on two legs. The news is especially bad if you’re female. While bone density peaks for both sexes at about age 30, women lose density faster than men, and the degradation is especially rapid around the time of the menopause. This loss in bone density means that about half of all women over 50 will fracture their hip, wrist, or vertebra at some point.
The ability to print bone would revolutionise orthopaedic care.
© University of Wollongong, 3D Bioprinting: Printing parts for bodies, 2014, Wallace, G.G., Cornock, R.C., O’Connell, C.D., Beirne, S., Dodds, S., Gilbert, F.