I know, if you are like most people you hate a riddle that does not
have an answer. Well, this isn't one of those. It is also not one of
those ones with a corney answer. This answer to this one is about a
serious technological advance.
A new method of producing synthetic bone is being developed. It uses
techniques normally used to make catalytic converters for cars, is
being developed by researchers at WMG at the University of Warwick.
How exactly is it done and why is it like a catalytic converter?
The technique involves state-of-the-art extrusion of the implant
material through a mould, to produce a 3-dimensional honeycomb texture,
with uniform pores throughout. The material can then be sculpted by the
surgeon to precisely match the defect. After implantation bone cells
will be transported into the implant and begin to form new bone.
So, Who created this new method?
WMG’s Dr Kajal Mallick is developing the technique along with his
postgraduate researcher James Meredith. They strongly believe it could
offer substantial clinical benefits to patients undergoing bone implant
"We found that we were able to use calcium phosphates – a family of
bioceramics that are routinely used in bone implant operations, but by
using this technique we were able to improve significantly both the
strength and porosity of the implant."
Dr Mallick added: "At the present time, there is no product
available in the market place that satisfies both these key properties
simultaneously. It is nearly an ideal scaffold structure for efficient
blood flow and formation of new bone cells."
What is the benefit of using this method?
The increased strength of the material means it could be used in
spinal surgery, or in revision hip and knee operations, where currently
non-degradable materials such as titanium or steel may be used. The
advantage of increased and interconnected porosity is that the implant
can quickly be filled with blood vessels, resulting in a more rapid