Printing 3D Bio-Implants During Surgery, IN SITU!
Ali Tamayol, Ph.D., associate professor at the University of Connecticut’s School of Dental Medicine, has developed a 3D bioprinter that allows surgeons to drop scaffolds directly into the patient during surgery.
Tamayol and his team’s study, “In Situ Printing of Adhesive Hydrogel Scaffolds for the Treatment of Skeletal Muscle” was published in the January 30, 2020 issue of the American Chemical Society journal.
With this handheld 3D printer, surgeons can directly fill a defect site in weakened skeletal muscle with scaffolds that help promote cellular and tissue growth.
One of the challenges of reconstructive surgery has always been treating volumetric muscle loss. By adhering directly to the surrounding tissue of the injury and imitating their natural properties, the 3D printing scaffolds offer better results. No suturing is needed either.
Indranil Sinha, M.D., a plastic surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard who contributed to the study, said that a “good solution currently does not exist for patients who suffer volumetric muscle loss. A customizable, printed gel establishes the foundation for a new treatment paradigm that can improve the care of our trauma patients.”
According to Tamayol, this is the first 3D bioprinted scaffold that has successfully treated volumetric muscle loss injury in mice. The mice in the study showed a significant increase in muscle hypertrophy.
“This is a new generation of 3D printers that enables clinicians to directly print the scaffold within the patient’s body.” Tamayol said.
“Best of all, this system does not require the presence of sophisticated imaging and printing systems.”