3D medical printing is widely used in the medical industry. One of the revolutionary ways of using this technology is knee joint surgery. Doctors from the Columbia University’ Medical Center is currently working on a 3D printed knee joint or the meniscus using protein growth system and degradable plastic scaffold. The meniscus acts as protective lining that surrounds the knee that is highly at risk to wear and tear which leads to complications like arthritis.
Patients who suffer from a torn meniscus often undergo meniscal transplant which makes use of tissues obtained from other parts of the body. Unfortunately, this procedure can lead to many complications. However with 3D printing, it removes all complications and makes the procedure less complicated.
A 3D image of the affected area is first taken in order to assist the 3D medical printer to copy the exact shape of the affected meniscus. A scaffold made from a biodegradable polymer polycaprolactone that contains proteins like connective growth factor and transforming growth factor beta-3 is created from the printer.
Lead author of the study Jeremy Mao noted that this is a revolutionary way of using conventional tissue engineering to promote the growth of endogenous cells for tissue regeneration. Currently, the scientists have tested this procedure in sheep and results were conclusively successful. Doctors no longer need to take tissues from other parts of the body to transplant to the affected part. This particular study is very promising and it can help millions of people who are suffering from any knee problem.