A recent Academic Times article discussed a new method for treating bone defects without the issue of antimicrobial resistance and bacterial bone infections associated with medical implants. A team at University of Nebraska’s Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering modified a commercially available 3D-printing pen to print biomaterial scaffolds directly onto bone defects or fractures. They also added zinc oxide, which makes the grafts resistant to infections.
The portable 3D printer is roughly the same size as a normal writing pen, and as easy to use as other medical instruments. Its creators had to be mindful of the temperature of the implants, because if the printed biomaterial is too hot, it can damage surrounding tissue and cause complications. The final version is a low-melting-temperature-device so that you can “print on the back of your hand without even sensing it.”