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Surgeons often use metal pieces such as screws and plates to hold broken bones together. Soon, there may be another, better option: ceramic implants created by 3D printers.

Many researchers have touted the medical promise of additive manufacturing, more commonly known as 3D printing. As the technology has become cheaper and more precise, the medical community has embraced it, creating things like prosthetic limbs, tissue with blood vessels, and even biosynthetic ovaries using 3D printing techniques. Now Hala Zreiqat, a professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Sydney in Australia, has shown the capacity for 3D printed implants to heal broken bones by not just holding them together, but encouraging new bone growth.

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