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  (Source: Fraunhofer ILT)
A new head...well, almost

A new implant for bone reconstruction has recently debuted in the medical world. Instead of rigid titanium plugging the holes in ones cranium, the new implant is degradable, as well as made of a synthetic bone-like material. The implant stimulates the body to heal itself, at its custom fit allows it to disappear at the same rate as the regrowing bone.

Normally, the body will heal itself – save for large injuries. So when a person happens to puncture their skull (quite a large injury), medical help is required. Instead of long-term doctor care, messy surgeries, and other setbacks, the new transplant offers custom care. It replaces the missing bone, until the body's own fissure closes up the hole.

The implant is made to last as long as the body will need it – from a few weeks to a year. In addition, instead of the solid implants to date, this new implant is porous. At intervals of just hundred micrometers, the openings allow for a lattice-type structure that the patient's bone can grow into. 

The new implant was produced by the “Resobone” project of the Federal Ministry for Education and Research.

"Its precision fit and perfect porous structure, combined with the new biomaterial, promise a total bone reconstruction that was hitherto impossible to achieve," says Dr. Ralf Smeets of the University Medical Center of Aachean.

Synthetic polylactide (PLA) and tricalium phosphate (TCP) are the key ingredients to the custom implant. PLA is employed in the implant's basic structure, and TCP ensures rigidity and stimulates the patient's natural bone growth.

There is a downside to the implant, however. It only be used in places in the body where stress is not prevalent. So patients with injured facial, maxillary, and cranial bones, as well as holes less than 25 square centimeters, are eligible for “Resobone” implants. 

The new implant surgery gives hope that patients with severe bone injury can recover quicker, better, and more comfortably. This new technology also steers away from the controversial stem cell subject

"No custom-fit, degradable implants ever existed before now. We have achieved our project goal," said Simon Hoges, Project Manager at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology.

 





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