Doctors perform hundreds of thousands of knee surgeries every year, often to replace damaged or worn cartilage. The techniques for performing these surgeries today may be about to change, thanks to new research.
In the not-too-distant future, orthopedic surgeons may simply draw new cartilage inside your knee, using a 3D printing, stem-cell-extruding device called the "BioPen."
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The device is still in the research and development stage and not yet approved for medical use, but it's an example of how 3D printing technologies may usher in new ways of treating common human ailments.
In a study published last month in the journal Biofabrication, scientists from the Australian Research Council’s Center of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) detailed experiments with their custom-built, 3D printing pen, known as the BioPen, a device they’ve been working for almost three years.
Its new capability, though, is what they're calling a breakthrough: the ability to effectively print viable human stem cells into damaged joints to regrow cartilage.
The pen was developed by Peter Choong, director of orthopedic
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