Hossein Montazerian, research assistant with UBCO’s school of engineering, demonstrates the artificial bone design that can be made with a 3D printer. - Credit: Contributed

Creating bone graphs with a 3D printer

A researcher at UBCO in Kelowna has created an artificial bone design using a printer

With 3D printer techology, one researcher has discovered a new artificial bone design that can be customized and made for stronger bone replacements.

Hossein Montazerian, research assistant with UBCO’s school of engineering, has identified a way to model and create artificial bone grafts that can be custom printed.

Montazerian said human bones are incredibly resilient, but when things go wrong, replacing them can be a painful process, requiring multiple surgeries.

“When designing artificial bone scaffolds it’s a fine balance between something that is porous enough to mix with natural bone and connective tissue, but at the same time strong enough for patients to lead a normal life,” he said. “We’ve identified a design that strikes that balance and can be custom built using a 3D printer.”

Traditional bone grafting is used in medicine to treat anything from traumatic fractures to defects and requires moving bone from one part of the body to another.

But Montazerian said his artificial bone grafts could be custom printed to potentially fit any patient and wouldn’t require transplanting existing bone fragments.

In his research, Montazerian analyzed 240 different bone graft designs and focused on just the ones that were both porous and strong. He printed those that performed the best using a 3D printer and then ran physical tests to determine how effective they would be under load in the real world.

“A few of the structures really stood out,” he said. “The best designs were up to 10 times stronger than the others and since they have properties that are much more similar to natural bone, they’re less likely to cause problems over the long term.”

Montazerian and his collaborators are working on the next generation of designs that will use a mix of two or more structures.

“We hope to produce bone grafts that will be ultra-porous, where the bone and connective tissues meet and are extra-strong at the points under the most stress. The ultimate goal is to produce a replacement that almost perfectly mimics real bone.”

While his bone graft designs are well on their way, Montazerian says the technology still needs some advances before it can be used clinically. For example, he said other researchers in the field are starting to refine biomaterials that won’t be rejected by the body and that can be printed with the very fine 3D details that his designs require.

“This solution has enormous potential and the next step will be to test how our designs behave in real biological systems,” he said. “I hope to see this kind of technology clinically implemented for real patients in the near future.”

Montazerian’s research was recently published in Science Direct’s Materials & Design.

Just Posted

Falkland artist favours, fights for fish

Lottie Kozak does all kinds of art; one of her favourite subjects, fish, is dwindling

The Westbank First Nation to be a fixture of Westside Daze

This Canada Day long weekend mark your calendars

Updated: Kelowna cops investigate armed robbery at city centre business

Robbery sparks late afternoon manhunt by armed police officers with guns drawn

Reducing the risk of wildfire in Kelowna

New city plan has 47 recommendations to cut down on the risk of wildfire

Kelowna mayor pays emotional tribute to late senior city manager

Colin Basran chokes up remembering city corporate and protective services director Rob Mayne Monday

Updated: Kelowna cops investigate armed robbery at city centre business

Robbery sparks late afternoon manhunt by armed police officers with guns drawn

Ottawa Senators trade Mike Hoffman, less than a week after allegations involving partner

Following the trade Senators make no mention of allegations against Hoffman’s partner

UPDATED: Oliver wildfire extinguished, B.C. Wildfire mopping up

6-ha. brush fire contained before it could spread farther

Late goal gives England 2-1 win over Tunisia

At the last World Cup in 2014, England couldn’t even win a game

Canadian military police officer pleads not guilty to sex assault

Sgt. Kevin MacIntyre, 48, entered his plea today at a court martial proceeding in Halifax

Vernon cold case murder suspect bail hearing Tuesday

Paramjit Singh Bogarh will appear in Vernon Law Courts at 10 a.m. June 19

Elvis lives again in Penticton

Elvis Festival back this weekend for 17th year

Athletics, Parsons stay hot in four-game sweep

Okanagan takes two PBL doubleheaders from UBC Thunder at Elks Stadium

Tigers looking to lock up title

Face Flames tonight in Penticton

Most Read