Researchers around the world are studying other methods and materials that can be used to make synthetic bones. These methods include the use of wood, sea ice and even Styrofoam. Researchers at the Institute of Science and Technology for Ceramics in Italy are experimenting with wood to create synthetic bone. The wood is heated, and then calcium and oxygen are added before the wood is heated once again with a phosphate solution. This has proven to be strong enough to replace bone, and it’s currently being tested in sheep.
Engineers in Germany made an amazing breakthrough with the use of Styrofoam. Using standard titanium implants, the engineers formed the structure around a matrix of polyurethane foam. After the matrix was heated off of the structure, the titanium transformed into a porous lacelike web. As a result, the engineers were left with a more realistic and flexible bone. The engineers have had such success with this method, manufacturing of the synthetic bone is expected soon.
Another method to create synthetic bone is with the use of sea ice. Scientists have discovered that when a calcium sludge is frozen into porous layers, and then the water is extracted, the results are a lightweight calcium scaffold. This scaffold is very similar to the hard structure of abalone shells. Currently, this new method is awaiting the testing and approval of the FDA.
The technology to make synthetic bones more natural is transforming each year. As new methods to make these bones are discovered, a wide variety of treatment options become a reality for many people suffering from bone loss and bone disease. With the new methods that are more similar to natural bone, the risk for rejection or failure decreases for patients needing the synthetic bone.