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Pure PLA (no additives) for surgical implants?


geert_2
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Posted · Pure PLA (no additives) for surgical implants?

Does anyone know where to find pure PLA filament? Thus without any additives: no colors, no plasticizers, no strengtheners, no UV-stabilisers or flame-retardants, no similar compounds (e.g. no PLA/PHA blend)...

 

Or does anyone have any past experience with pure PLA, from the early years of 3D-printing? How did it print, concerning speed, nozzle temp, layer height, other settings,...? Was that like modern PLA-variants?

 

I remember from a demo-model that I once saw long ago, that it was very hard and brittle. But if that hardness would be similar to real bone, it might be workable.

 

Pure PLA is biodegradable in the body: it decomposes slowly into lactic acid and CO2, if I understood it well. We might consider trying 3D-printed structures in reconstructive implants. The idea is that the 3D-print gives mechanical support, shape and guidance initially, and is then gradually broken down and replaced by the real natural bone and flesh tissues. Obviously we don't want any colors or other additives with unknown side-effects in there, that could cause poisoning, rejection or allergic reactions.

 

Desinfection is not an issue: we could always do that with strong UV light (this is only required for a short time prior to implanting anyway, not long enough to break down the plastic) and with classic alcohols. And once implanted, the body's immune system should take care of it.

 

But we need to find suitable plastics first... Any ideas?

 

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