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UNM Pursuing 3D Printing of Tissue for Extremity Reconstruction

With the support of a $20,000 grant from The American Foundation for Surgery of the Hand, a research team at the University of New Mexico (UNM) Department of Orthopaedics & Rehabilitation’s Research Division seeks to make 3D printed bone/ligament hybrid tissue for use in hand and wrist procedures.

The project is co-supported by UNM’s Women in STEM Award. 

UNM’s 3D bioprinter, built by students, will generate the tissue using electrospinning of long-fiber materials to create a biodegradable polymer that may be able to generate scaffolds stiff and strong enough to mimic ligaments. It may be possible for surgeons to import patient-specific anatomic details to the system to allow engineered materials to better support tissue ingrowth.

Final results from this project will be presented at the 2017 annual meeting of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand in September.

The department also seeks to license an adaptive mesh developed as an alternative to rigid plates used to treat fractures.

 The mesh molds to bone’s contours and features crimped links that can accommodate bone screw placement as desired, as opposed to dictated by screw holes. The patented mesh is configured to resist high tension stress in the knee, elbow and sternum, and can be made from non-metallic materials to avoid corrosion.

Source and Photo Credit: University of New Mexico



A mechanical engineering research assistant in the UNM Orthopaedic Biomechanics & Biomaterials Laboratory operates a custom 3D bioprinter.

 Related Article: Surgeons Seek Muscle-Sparing Techniques in Arthroscopy/Soft Tissue Repair Market






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