Rattan wood could be new graft material
Bone grafting is a surgical procedure that replaces missing bone, the procedure is used in cases where the bone has naturally failed to heal properly or in complicated cases where the healing area has to be supplemented with a bridge or scaffolding to assist replacement. Grafting material used can be natural bone from the patient’s body alternately, Allograft bone, harvested from an individual other than the one receiving the graft, or synthetic material with similar mechanical properties of natural bone, metal alloy or ceramics.
But a new study from the National Research Council of Italy suggests that wood could be used in the future as the material is very close to natural bone at a microscopic level and has desirable properties such as strength, flexibility and lightness. Around two million bone graft procedures are performed annually around the world due to accidental damage, bone cancer, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and other diseases.
The technology described by Ugo Finardi (Institute for Economic Research on Firms and Growth-CERIS-CNR, and University of Torino), and Simone Sprio (Institute of Science and Technology for Ceramics – ISTEC-CNR), explains how the hierarchical physical structure of rattan wood might be used as a scaffold for creating a synthetic material to replace damaged and lost bone.
The process is not simple, where the wood has to have certain natural chemical components removed and has to be heat treated to remove other plant materials, leaving a carbon skeleton that can react with calcium, oxygen and phosphate, the resulting material being a close copy of natural bone. The Research team says that unlike metal alloys, ceramics and even donor bone, their patented material is low cost, has very good biomechanics, is biocompatible and can be integrated into existing bone, thus properly assisting bone regeneration.