While this footage isn’t as exciting as I’d like it to be – I’d really prefer a big old gross close-up of a splayed knee joint – what it represents is pretty wonderful. Essentially, doctors at the Columbia University Medical Center have been able to print a knee meniscus using a degradable plastic scaffold and a protein growth system. The body then subsumes the printed object and turns the protein into a knee joint.
“At present, there’s little that orthopedists can do to regenerate a torn knee meniscus,” said study leader Jeremy Mao in a release. “Some small tears can be sewn back in place, but larger tears have to be surgically removed. While removal helps reduce pain and swelling, it leaves the knee without the natural shock absorber between the femur and tibia, which greatly increases the risk of arthritis.”
The scaffold isn’t just a plastic shell, however…
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