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News - QUT research is behind the first 3D-printed shin bone implant

20th September 2017

QUT research and technology is behind the first ever 3D-printed shin bone implant in a young Gold Coast man to replace bone lost through an infection.

QUT’s Distinguished Professor Dietmar W. Hutmacher is director of the ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre in Additive Biomanufacturing  (ARC ITTC) that is at the frontier of 3D printing in medicine.

“Additive Biomanufacturing (ABM) is an emerging sector within Advanced Manufacturing and the technology allows us to 3D print scaffolds, customised to the patient, which are then slowly resorbed by the body and guide the new bone formation,” Professor Hutmacher said.

“Our research team, including Dr Marie-Luise Wille, Dr Nathan Castro and PhD student Sebastian Eggert, worked closely with Dr Michael Wagels, the Princess Alexandra plastic surgeon who performed the surgery.

“We firstly developed a computer model and 3D printed a series of physical models of the large bone defect from CT scans of the patient’s tibia bone and then designed a patient-specific implant in the form of a highly porous scaffold which will guide the regeneration of the new bone.

“The QUT team used a 3D printer from the Queensland-based company 3D Industries to print the models and then the final scaffold design was sent to Osteopore International, an industry partner in the ARC ITTC which has more than 10-year clinical track record for their FDA-approved and CE-marked biodegradable scaffolds.”

Professor Hutmacher and Dr Wagels have started an innovative PhD training program which is partially funded by the PA Research Foundation in which young surgeons are trained and perform cutting-edge research in 3D printing in medicine to meet Australia’s need to build capacity in key areas of economic importance.

“Next to the ambition to deliver outstanding fundamental science & engineering, from a business and human capital perspective, my vision for the ARC ITTC in Additive Biomanufacturing is to deliver an exceptionally talented group of entrepreneurs who will start high-impact companies,” he said.

“They will have their roots in globally competitive fundamental and applied STEM research as well as in manufacturing innovation and new medical devices.

“This vision is in line with the Chief Scientist’s call for the Australian Government to build entrepreneurship into education at all levels, as part of a national strategy to prepare Australia and Australians for prosperity through innovation in the decades ahead.”

Media contact: Niki Widdowson, QUT Media, 07 3138 2999 or

After hours: Rose Trapnell, 0407 585 901 or


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