Using a new 3D printing process, University of Nottingham researchers have tailor-made artificial body parts and other medical devices with built-in functionality that offer better shape and durability, while cutting the risk of bacterial infection at the same time.

The design process can be applied to 3D-print any medical device that needs customizable shapes and functions; for example, it could be adapted to create a one-piece prosthetic limb or joint to replace a lost finger or leg that can fit the patient perfectly to improve their comfort and the prosthetic’s durability.

3D-printed objects made up of two polymer materials of differing stiffness – that also prevent the build-up of bacterial biofilm – were created.