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High-performance engineering used to design facial bone replacements
Date:7/12/2010

, Sutradhar noted, the design resembled an outline of the bones of the sinus cavity. However, an exact replica of facial bones is not necessary or desirable for this work, researchers said.

"The idea is not to recreate normal anatomy. It is to recreate functional support that is alive and permanent that we will be able to place prosthetics on," Miller said.

With minimal constraints applied to these early designs, Sutradhar and colleagues next plan to add additional variables to the equations, such as structural requirements needed to support transplanted soft tissue or prosthetics.

Another important detail is determining the vascular needs for the tissue-engineered bone that would be grown around these model structures. Any bone used in facial reconstruction that from a patient's own body or engineered from other biological materials must be supported by a blood supply that is attached to blood vessels in the face during reconstruction to promote healing and keep the bone alive.

After adding more variables to the design process, the researchers plan to conduct feasibility tests of the structures, which will be made out of titanium. Neither this lightweight metal nor other synthetic material is suitable for permanent use in this type of reconstruction because the foreign substance can lead to infection, react poorly with soft tissues and erode, Miller said.

As a plastic surgeon specializing in reconstruction after extensive cancer surgery, Miller has been pursuing ways to grow new bone tissue for more than a decade. He and colleagues ultimately plan to use these new structures as models on which new bone material can be grown using a patient's own body as a bioreactor. The new bone would then be used as the basis for facial reconstruction.


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Contact: Alok Sutradhar
alok.sutradhar@osumc.edu
614-293-7655
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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