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3D printing tissue adhesive developed by researchers from the Fraunhofer Association

2023-12-29 13:46

Researchers from the Fraunhofer Association have developed a three-dimensional printing adhesive using the properties of dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA), which can improve the lifespan of medical implants such as hip implants. The inspiration for this adhesive comes from the natural bonding ability of mussels, which combine DOPA with apatite (a ceramic found in bones and teeth).

This development addresses a key issue in hip replacement surgery: the human body's tendency to reject titanium implants. By promoting stronger adhesion between bones and titanium, this method can greatly reduce the need for multiple surgeries, especially for young patients.

Fraunhofer 3D printing dopamine based adhesive is being applied to titanium hip joint shafts. (Image source: Fraunhofer)


The concept of using DOPA for bonding is not new, but applying it to 3D printing, especially for creating custom shapes that meet personal anatomical needs, marks a significant advancement. Traditional titanium castings are limited in size and shape, but 3D printing technology can achieve precise customization, which is crucial for matching the complex geometric shapes of the human body. This technology can adapt to various situations, such as reconstructing shattered bones in accidents, thereby increasing contact area and ensuring safer and more durable hip replacement surgery.

The potential of this project is not limited to hip joint implants. It coincides with ongoing research in fields such as bioglass, which focuses on treating dental diseases and promoting bone growth around implants. With further research and regulatory approval, this adhesive can greatly improve the quality of life for people who experience joint problems due to age or injury.