A flexible 3D-printed material may someday be able to replace large areas of damaged or missing bone, according to a new study.
As anyone who has broken a bone can tell you, these injuries take a while to heal. But if a patient needs a large area of bone replaced, either due to a traumatic injury or a birth defect, the body can’t replace the bone cells as easily on its own, and the person typically requires an implant. Some can get a graft of bone from another part of their body, but that can leave the original tissue more vulnerable to injury and can look strange, especially if the graft is going into the face or head. Other implants, from cadavers or made of synthetic products, are sometimes too brittle to be shaped to fit the area that the patient needs.