Researchers Make Progress with 3D-Printed ‘Cartilage-Mimicking Material’
“Printable hydrogel matches the strength and elasticity of human cartilage”
They don’t name which 3D-printer they used but they do specify it cost $300 – so something in the range of the M3D Micro or Printrbot, that is to say it is amazing what researchers are able to toy with for relatively cheap these days while advancing serious scientific studies!
A cartilage-mimicking material created by researchers at Duke University may one day allow surgeons to 3-D print replacement knee parts that are custom-shaped to each patient’s anatomy.
Human knees come with a pair of built-in shock absorbers called the menisci. These ear-shaped hunks of cartilage, nestled between the thigh and shin bones, cushion every step we take. But a lifetime of wear-and-tear — or a single wrong step during a game of soccer or tennis — can permanently damage these key supports, leading to pain and an increased risk of developing arthritis.
The hydrogel-based material the researchers developed is the first to match human cartilage in strength and elasticity while also remaining 3-D-printable and stable inside the body. To demonstrate how it might work, the researchers used a $300 3-D printer to create custom menisci for a plastic model of a knee.
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