Japan scientists eye made-to-order bones
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TOKYO (AFP) – Japanese hospitals are running a clinical trial on the world's first custom-made bones which would fit neatly into patients' skulls and eventually give way to real bones.
If successful, the Japanese method could open the way for doctors to create new bones within hours of an accident so long as the patient has electronic data on file.
Doctors usually mend defective bones by transplanting real bones or ceramic substitutes. The Japanese implants use a powder of calcium phosphate, the substance that makes up real bones.
The new implants are called CT Bone as they are crafted using the patient's computer tomography (CT) data, a form of medical imaging.
It can match the complicated structures of the jaw, cheek and other parts of the skull down to one millimetre (0.039 of an inch), a level significant enough to make a difference in human faces, researchers told AFP.
"It can also be replaced by your own bone, which wasn't possible before" with conventional sintered ceramic bones, said Tsuyoshi Takato, an orthopedic surgeon and professor at the University of Tokyo's Graduate School of Medicine.
The implants are currently limited to use in the skull because, unlike limbs, they do not have to carry the body weight.