Advances in 3D bioprinting for bony defects of the mandible



Background A series of conditions can leave the human mandible with a bony defect that is still difficult to compensate for with current clinical techniques. 3D bioprinting (computer-controlled, highly organized deposition of bio-materials and stem cells into a 3D structure) is a new tissue engineering strategy showing potential to contribute to the treatment of these defects.
Objective The aim of this review is to give clinicians an idea of how 3D bioprinting works, where this technology is currently at and how it is developing towards clinical application in the field of maxillo-facial surgery.
Data sources Bone tissue engineering literature was searched for articles that describe the use of additive manufacturing (collective term for layer-wise stacking of materials, including 3D printing) with use of biomaterials and stem cells.
Study selection 3D bioprinting reviews and research articles presenting bone tissue constructs were selected.
Data Extraction Information on 3D bioprinting background, design, applied techniques and used biomaterials for bone tissue were bundled. Research projects aiming at creating viable bone constructs were selected.
Data Synthesis  This review presents a comprehensive summary of 3D bioprinting basics and shows how this technique is evolving towards bone tissue constructs with the potential of clinical application in the management of bony mandibular defects.

Keywords: tissue engineering, 3D printing, bioprinting, biomaterials, bone, mandible.