Handheld 3D printers developed at UConn to treat musculoskeletal injuries
Biomedical engineers at the UConn School of Dental Medicine have developed a handheld 3D bioprinter that could change the way musculoskeletal surgical procedures are performed, the university reports.
The bioprinter, developed by Dr. Ali Tamayol, associate professor in the School of Dental Medicine biomedical engineering department, enables surgeons to deposit scaffolds—or materials to help support cellular and tissue growth—directly into the defect sites within weakened skeletal muscles, according to the article. Tamayol is a BMES member.
Tamayol's research was recently published in the American Chemical Society journal.
“The printer is robust and allows proper filling of the cavity with fibrillar scaffolds in which fibers resemble the architecture of the native tissue,” Tamayol said in the article.
The scaffolds from the bioprinter adhere precisely to the surrounding tissues of the injury and mimic the properties of the existing tissue— eliminating the need for any suturing.
Current methods for reconstructive surgery have been largely inadequate in treating volumetric muscle loss, according to the article. As a result, 3D printing technology has emerged as an up and coming solution to help reconstruct muscle.
Currently there is no good solution for patients who suffer volumetric muscle loss, according to the article. A customizable, printed gel establishes the foundation for a new treatment paradigm and can improve the care of trauma patients
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