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Three Dimensional Printed Bone Implants in the Clinic

Tellisi, Nazzar, MBBCh, FRCS (Tr, Ortho)*; Ashammakhi, Nureddin A., MD, PhD†,‡,§,||; Billi, Fabrizio, PhD; Kaarela, Outi, MD, PhD

doi: 10.1097/SCS.0000000000004829
Scientific Foundation

Implants are being continuously developed to achieve personalized therapy. With the advent of 3-dimensional (3D) printing, it is becoming possible to produce customized precisely fitting implants that can be derived from 3D images fed into 3D printers. In addition, it is possible to combine various materials, such as ceramics, to render these constructs osteoconductive or growth factors to make them osteoinductive. Constructs can be seeded with cells to engineer bone tissue. Alternatively, it is possible to load cells into the biomaterial to form so called bioink and print them together to from 3D bioprinted constructs that are characterized by having more homogenous cell distribution in their matrix. To date, 3D printing was applied in the clinic mostly for surgical training and for planning of surgery, with limited use in producing 3D implants for clinical application. Few examples exist so far, which include mostly the 3D printed implants applied in maxillofacial surgery and in orthopedic surgery, which are discussed in this report. Wider clinical application of 3D printing will help the adoption of 3D printers as essential tools in the clinics in future and thus, contribute to realization of personalized medicine.

*Chapel Allerton Hospital, Leeds Teaching Hospitals, Leeds, UK

Department of Bioengineering, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu

§School of Technology and Innovations, University of Vaasa, Vaasa, Finland

||Biotechnology Research Center, Authority for Natural Sciences Research and Technology, Tripoli, Libya

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, David Geffen School of Medicine, Orthopaedic Hospital Research Center, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Nureddin A. Ashammakhi, MD, PhD, Department of Biotechnology, Samueli School of Engineering, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA; E-mail:

Received 20 May, 2018

Accepted 15 June, 2018

NT and NA contributed equally to this study and both are considered as first authors.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

© 2018 by Mutaz B. Habal, MD.