U of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers developing 3D-printed dissolving implants: 5 insights

Written by Mackenzie Garrity | October 09, 2018 | Print  |

Michael Sealy, an assistant mechanical and materials engineering professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is using a 3D printer to develop dissolvable implants, according to News-Press New.

Here are five insights:

1. Mr. Sealy has two metal screws in his elbow from when he had surgery in fifth grade. This sparked his interest in innovative implant development.

2. The implant aims to eliminate the need for follow-up procedures that are required to remove screws, pins and plates.

3. Mr. Sealy is using the first 3D printer to combine magnesium with other materials. Magnesium is abundant in the body and degrades when exposed to oxygen, water and salts.

4. To ensure the magnesium does not dissolve before the bone is healed, Mr. Sealy is applying the laser shock peening process. The 3D printer allows researchers to print metals while also using other manufacturing treatments, including the peening process.

5. The 3D printer also eliminates most of the oxygen, moisture and other factors that may react with the magnesium. Mr. Sealy has combined the two printing processes for steel, titanium and aluminum implants. He plans to begin developing the magnesium implant in 2019.

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