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Health & Wellbeing

Simple cockleshells used for human bone replacement

CMU has started using sea shells as human bone replacement. The technique, first perfected in the United States, was introduced by Asst. Prof. Dr. Sitthiporn Boonyanit of the Institute of Science and Technology and a Professor in the Department of Surgery at the Faculty of Medicine at Chiang Mai University.

Dr. Sitthiporn Boonyanit has developed a technique to use local shells for human bone replacement.

Normally, doctors prefer to a patient’s own bone for bone replacement but there are times when a patient’s own bone cannot be used, either due to illness or age. Often the replacement is made from metal which not only must be ordered from abroad at a high price but also can cause health problems in some people.

Local shells can be used because the main component of the shells are calcium carbonate; shells of all kinds can be used, researchers used scallop shells. First the shell is sterilized, and then the shell is desiccated and burned at 800 degrees centigrade. All organic matter is removed and then the crushed shell is ground into calcium oxide powder which is combined with other minerals to create a structure made of calcium phosphate hydroxide, similar to bones. The powder is formed as needed to fit the patient and can be splints, or pins. (CMU)

Local shells can be used to make human bone replacement at a much lower cost than imported metal replacements.

The final result of a bone pin made out of shells.


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Simple cockleshells used for human bone replacement