New Method of Ultrasound Technology Enables In-Body 3D Printing of Implants
A revolutionary method utilizing ultrasound technology has been developed for the direct 3D printing of implants within the human body, offering the potential to significantly reduce the invasiveness of surgical procedures. This innovative technique involves introducing implants in liquid form, which then solidify in place.
Conventionally, 3D printing involves the layer-by-layer application of viscous materials that subsequently harden to create three-dimensional objects. However, scientists at the University of Duke and Harvard Medical School have pioneered a new approach, referred to as deep-permanent acoustic volumetric seal (DVAP). Instead of using photosensitive resin, this method utilizes biocompatible sonic ink, which heats up and solidifies upon exposure to ultrasound impulses.
The viscous sonic ink can be directly injected into the specific body part requiring the implant and subsequently irradiated with penetrating ultrasound waves delivered through a strategically positioned external probe. Once the implant has taken the desired shape, any remaining ink can be removed from the body using a syringe.
Depending on their intended application, sonic inks can be engineered to possess durability or biodegradability, and can even mimic various types of biological tissues such as bone.
In laboratory tests, the DVAP technology has already demonstrated its effectiveness in occluding a section of a goat’s heart (a common requirement for treating non-valve atrial fibrillation), repairing bone defects in chickens, and sealing hydrogels that release antitumor drugs within liver tissue.
“This printing method introduces a multitude of potential applications in surgery and therapy that traditionally involve highly invasive and destructive techniques,” commented Associate Professor Yao from Duke University, who led the study alongside Associate Professor I. Shrike Zhang from Harvard Medical School and researcher Xiao Kuang.
The study detailing these groundbreaking findings has