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At Charité–Universitätsmedizin Berlin, “Europe’s largest University clinic,” researchers are working to prove that, in specific cases, 3D printed titanium-mesh scaffolds offer a better alternative to conventional bone-grafting techniques using a patient’s own bone.

The treatment is believed to be particularly effective when treating large bone defects caused by significant trauma to the limbs. In addition to unparalleled strength, 3D printed titanium implants can be designed to fit any injury. Made with complex inner geometries, in a number of cases, such implants have proved more effective at encouraging in-growth of bone and vascular structure essential to a patient’s full recovery.

Order - Hypothesis - Charité - Researchers - Animal

In order to prove their hypothesis, Charité researchers successfully conducted a large animal study using 3D printed titanium-mesh scaffolds with a pool of 27 sheep. The study then moved to a pre-clinical trial of 19 human patients. Science Translational Medicine has published the results.

The titanium-mesh scaffolds in the Charité study were 3D printed by DePuy Synthes using a metal laser sintering process.

Implants - Structure - Diameter - Honeycomb - Researchers

The implants were designed with a honeycomb-like structure. By altering the strut diameter of the honeycomb, researchers could create a stiffer implant and maximize support.

The team also experimented with two reinforcement mechanisms for the implants; a shielding plate, and a locking compression plate (LCP), as shown in the diagram below.

Weeks - Post - Surgery - Scaffolds

24 weeks post surgery, the titanium-mesh scaffolds proved...
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