2022-052 – A 3D-Printed Synthetic Osteochondral Graft


Osteochondral grafts are often used to replace the articular cartilage and exposed underlying bone resulting from cartilage injuries. There are currently a limited number of both non-synthetic and synthetic options to restore these parts of the body, known as osteochondral autografts and osteochondral allografts. Osteochondral autograft procedures take tissue directly from other parts of the patient’s body, as opposed to an osteochondral allograft which requires tissue from a donor. Examples of osteochondral autografts include the autologous chondrocyte implantation, which is a two-part procedure used to treat defects in articular cartilage of the knee, and the matrix-induced autologous chondrocyte implantation, another two-part procedure where the cartilage needed for the knee joint is grown from the patient’s own cells. Limitations exist regarding how much tissue can be taken and utilized from the patient’s body. On the other hand, a disadvantage related to allografts is the potential risk of disease transmission from a donor. However, an advantage to both non-synthetic methods is to replace cartilage and bone with similar, non-foreign tissue, as well as being more sustainable over time. Both osteochondral grafting methods are commonly used in knee repair, but may also be used in other joints in the body. Other synthetic methods have been proposed, yet have only shown focus on the repair and regeneration of cartilage, and may require a bone graft as well. Thus, there is a need to develop a non-synthetic procedure and device that can avoid rejection, minimize surgical error, and eliminate donor necessity.

Technology Description
Researchers from the University of New Mexico’s School of Engineering have proposed a new method and device for osteochondral grafting. The 3D-printed synthetic osteochondral graft will be composed of two different materials, a ceramic-polymer composite and hydrogel, to prevent any issues relating to donor tissue matches, as well as to perfect the size and fit for each individual need. During the grafting operation, this new technology can reduce human error by precisely modeling the patient’s joint. In addition, donor grafts would no longer be needed, thus increasing accessibility and reducing donor tissue rejection.




  • Reduces the need for donors, thus reducing chances for donor tissue rejection
  • Eliminates donor tissue matching concerns
  • Precisely models patient’s joint
  • Replaces cartilage and bone with precisely 3D-printed tissue to match the patient

Potential Applications

  • Osteochondral Grafts
  • Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Medical Device
  • Implantable Prosthetic

Contact Information

Name: Gregg Banninger

Email: GBanninger@innovations.unm.edu

Phone: 505-272-7908