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What is a “hyperelastic bone”? (Relevant for GS Prelims)

Hyperelastic Bone or HB is a breakthrough in reconstructive surgery. It is a new synthetic material that can be implanted under the skin as a scaffold for new bone to grow on, or used to replace lost bone matter altogether. Surgeons currently replace shattered or missing bones with a number of things.

Present Options with surgeons
The most common option is an autograft where a piece of bone is taken from a patient’s own body, usually from a hip or a rib, and implanted where it’s needed elsewhere in the same patient’s skeleton. Surgeons prefer autografts because they’re real bone complete with stem cells that give rise to cartilage and bone cells to provide extra support for the new graft.

Comparison of Present Techniques with Hyperelastic Bone
Researchers at Northwestern University,U.S., say that the hyperelastic bone (made of hydroxyapatite, a naturally occurring mineral that exists in our bones and teeth) will provide strength to create bone.
The idea is that a patient would come in with a nasty broken bone — say, a shattered jaw — and instead of going through painful autograft surgeries or waiting for a custom scaffold to be manufactured, he or she could be X-rayed and a 3D-printed hyperelastic bone scaffold could be printed that same day.

 

 



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