Engineering Minute

Engineering Minute – 3D Printed Biomimetic Implant

Biomimicry is the design and development of materials that model biological systems. One application of biomimicry is implants and prosthesis because the body is less likely to reject material resembling natural tissues. Recently a team from the National University of Science and Technology MISIS, in Russia, in conjunction with the startup Biomimetix, successfully implanted a biomimetic hybrid prosthesis into the femoral bone of a dog suffering from osteosarcoma.


Implants with a titanium-reinforcing component, the “spongy” polymer core and the “cortical” polymer shell. credit: NUST MISIS

From the National University of Science and Technology article "The Biomimetix team has been engaged in the development of biomimetic implants for several years. Scientists work with ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene—proven biocompatible materials, but they modify the materials in a unique way that gives the implants the necessary structure. This is the world`s first example of creating biomimetic prostheses from a polymeric material like this. In August 2018, at the request of the MedVed veterinary center, the Biomimetix team developed an experimental biomimetic prosthesis for the femur of a dog with osteosarcoma."


The implant was composed of a 3D printed titantium alloy and an ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene, resulting in a structure that mimicked the patient's bone.


"Since the dog was big, it used to move [very much], so 11 cm of bone was required to be removed, and the prosthesis [needed to be] a hybrid. On the titanium tube, made with 3D printing by "Konmet", our partners, we have increased the layer of solid ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene, and the inner part is made of porous ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene, identical to the structure of the spongy bone. During the operation, part of the coating was cut to "fit" the implant to the bone. A few days after the surgery, the dog was able to walk. If the fusion of the polymer and bone tissue is successful, it will be possible to remove the fixing plates after some time", - stated Fedor Senatov, General Director of Biomimetix and research assistant at the NUST MISIS Center of Composite Materials.


Read more about the 3D printed biomimetric implant at the National University of Science and Technology MISIS.