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Bone replacement from laser melting
Date:6/16/2010

The body can heal minor bone injuries itself - but with major injuries, it needs help. That's when implants frequently come into use. In contrast to long-term solutions based on titanium, degradable implants are intended to replace the missing pieces of bone only until the fissure closes itself up. That may last months or even years, depending on the size of the defect, the age and health status of the patient. A new implant improves the conditions for the healing process. It emerged from the Resobone project of the federal ministry for education and research, and is sized-to-fit for each patient. Unlike the conventional bony substitutes to date, it is not made up as a solid mass, but is porous instead. Precise little channels permeate the implant at intervals of just a few hundred micrometers. Its precision fit and perfect porous structure, combined with the new biomaterial, promise a total bone reconstruction that was hitherto impossible to achieve, as Dr. Ralf Smeets of the University Medical Center of Aachen summarizes the findings of the first tolerability studies.

The porous canals create a lattice structure which the adjacent bones can grow into. Its basic structure consists of the synthetic polylactide, or PLA for short. The stored granules from tricalcium phosphate (TCP) ensure rigidity and stimulate the bone's natural healing process. As pastes, granulates and semi-finished products, TCP and PLA already have proven to be degradable implants. The body can catabolize both substances as rapidly as the natural bones can regrow. But the material can only be applied in places where it will not be subject to severe stress: Thus, the Resobone implants will primarily replace missing facial, maxillary and cranial bones. Currently, they are able to close fissures of up to 25 square centimeters in size. Their unique structure is made possible through a manufacturing process that was developed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aach
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Contact: Dipl.-Phys. Simon Hoeges
simon.hoeges@ilt.fraunhofer.de
49-024-189-06360
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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