Three Dimensional Printed Bone Implants in the Clinic

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Abstract

Implants are being continuously developed to achieve personalized therapy. With the advent of 3-dimensional (3D) printing, it is becoming possible to produce customized precisely fitting implants that can be derived from 3D images fed into 3D printers. In addition, it is possible to combine various materials, such as ceramics, to render these constructs osteoconductive or growth factors to make them osteoinductive. Constructs can be seeded with cells to engineer bone tissue. Alternatively, it is possible to load cells into the biomaterial to form so called bioink and print them together to from 3D bioprinted constructs that are characterized by having more homogenous cell distribution in their matrix. To date, 3D printing was applied in the clinic mostly for surgical training and for planning of surgery, with limited use in producing 3D implants for clinical application. Few examples exist so far, which include mostly the 3D printed implants applied in maxillofacial surgery and in orthopedic surgery, which are discussed in this report. Wider clinical application of 3D printing will help the adoption of 3D printers as essential tools in the clinics in future and thus, contribute to realization of personalized medicine.

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