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

West Kelowna women fatally injured in parking lot collision.

A truck reportedly stuck the woman while crossing the street

Kelowna Gospel Mission serves up Christmas dinner

Volunteers and staff helped serve over 700 guests Saturday

Road woes continue for Rockets, lose in Calgary

The Rockets were defeated 5-1 by the Calgary Hitmen

Yellow Vest movement rallied in Vernon Saturday

Protesters took to the steps of the Vernon courthouse Saturday.

Yellow Vest movement rallied in Vernon Saturday

Protesters took to the steps of the Vernon courthouse Saturday.

Boeser has 2 points as Canucks ground Flyers 5-1

WATCH: Vancouver has little trouble with slumping Philly side

Shuswap tennis club’s indoor facility construction moving at a smooth clip

Volunteer support has been crucial, opening expected in April 2019.

Yellow Vest movement rallied in Vernon Saturday

Protesters took to the steps of the Vernon courthouse Saturday.

Man dies after falling from B.C. bridge

Intoxicated man climbed railing, lost his balance and fell into the water below

B.C. animation team the ‘heart’ of new ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

The animators, largely based in Vancouver, ultimately came up with a creative technique that is drawing praise

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

Most Read