A new 3D implant helps to heal fractures, turning into a real bone

In complex multiple bone fractures, special metal implants are used – screws and pins that hold the damaged bone fragments together and ensure their fusion. However, this process is very slow and painful.

Against this background, a real revolutionary breakthrough was the development of a group of scientists at the University of Sydney, headed by Halali Zreikat. They created a ceramic 3D implant that holds the broken bones into one piece and then turns into a natural bone.

Implant has already been successfully tested in restoring limb fractures in rabbits. In addition, in the near future, the results of testing will be published with similar fractures in sheep. All eight animals recovered successfully.

So, the sheep began to walk on their own the very next day after implant implantation, though in combination with a cast bandage to stabilize the process for four weeks. Three months after the operation, the scientists recorded complete recovery in 25% of the animals, and a year later this figure rose to 88%.

As the bones grow, the implant gradually becomes a bone. As a result, it not only promotes healing, but also forms bone tissue in those places where it was lost as a result of trauma, and where the implant is no longer needed, it dissolves.

[Source of research: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actbio.2013.02.039]