Scientists from the Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU) were able to double the rate of recovery of damaged bones using implants created on a 3D printer, RIA Novosti reports. According to the authors of the research, their technology for applying bioactive coatings to the surface of implants is also distinguished by a noticeable saving of time and resources (the results are published in the Modern Technologies in Medicine journal).
The success of restorative medicine today, according to the scientists, is largely associated with the development of implants made of composite biomaterials that mimic living tissues. They are composed of elements with different chemical and mechanical properties, due to which they reproduce the functions of damaged body tissues much more accurately.
In a new study, the Russian scientists have determined the optimal structural parameters of titanium implants produced using 3D printing and also proposed a method for improving them using a bioactive calcium phosphate coating that provides accelerated restoration of damaged bones.
“Our coating has already been successfully used in the world-famous Ilizarov Trauma Centre – implants with it have been installed in more than 400 patients from 6 to 50 years old from Russia, France and other countries. They are also successfully used in veterinary practice. According to the results of a joint research with the specialists of the Centre, not a single case of rejection of our implants by a body has been observed, and the rate of restoration of the normal structure of bones and muscles due to the coating has doubled,” the Associate Professor of the Scientific and Educational Centre B.P. Weinberg TPU, Sergey Tverdokhlebov, said.
The scientists managed to combine several methods of material modification. This approach makes it possible to personify implants not only in shape but also in physicochemical and biological properties, which is necessary for the treatment of complex pathologies and injuries.
It is specified that micro-arc oxidation made it possible to form a porous calcium-phosphate coating on the titanium surface, then the coating was impregnated with a biodegradable material that serves as a container for drugs and bioactive substances that improve implant survival, and by plasma treatment by magnetron sputtering, the material was given optimal properties for growth of living cells on it.
In addition, scientists have used computer simulations of the release of drugs placed on the implant, which helps to optimize product properties and reduce costly experiments, accelerating the time to market for new types of implants.