Article by D.Nield for sciencealert.com
A new cartilage-like hydrogel material could make the job of repairing knees much easier, say scientists, as it's 3D printable and can be made as an exact fit for each individual knee.
The new research focuses on the two crucial shock absorbers inside the knee, known as the menisci, and replacing these parts of our bodies needs both the right material properties and the right shape.
That's a challenge the scientists from Duke University have taken up, showing that a suitable hydrogel meniscus can be produced by a 3D printer costing US$300 in just a day.
If that feat can be replicated on a larger scale, we're looking at simple and inexpensive knee repairs for what are usually complex and problematic injuries.
"We've made it very easy now for anyone to print something that is pretty close in its mechanical properties to cartilage, in a relatively simple and inexpensive process," says one of the researchers, Benjamin Wiley.
Each of our knees has two ear-shaped menisci, sitting between the thigh and shin bones, and cushioning every step we take. If these supports get damaged, walking becomes painful and the risk of arthritis increases.
When we reach adulthood, these menisci can't really heal themselves, and broken ones often have to be [….] read more>>
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