Russia’s largest orthopedic center tests biodegradable implants developed at TPU

A master student from Tomsk Polytechnic University Gleb Dubinenko is practicing at the Russian Ilizarov Scientific Center for Restorative Traumatology and Orthopedics (Kurgan, Russia). He brought some samples of implants developed at the University to test.


Gleb Dubinenko is a student of the master program Computer Modeling of Obtaining and Processing Materials who conducts research in the Laboratory for Plasma Hybrid Systems headed by As. Prof. Sergey Tverdokhlebov. Currently Gleb works with implants fabricated out of a composite material, i.e. polylactic and calcium phosphate. The material is fully biodegradable, i.e. over time after restoration of bone defects it completely dissolves. The prototype implants were 3D printed at the University.

Photo: 3D bioresorbable composite implants made at TPU for testing at Ilizarov Center

One of the implants – for hip joints – has been successfully implanted into the dog involved in the studies at Ilizarov Center. Professor Arnold Popkov supervises the works.

It is noteworthy that dogs greatly contribute to the medical orthopedic research. Within the Center territory, there is a bronze dog sculpture titled They Serve To Science.

‘The surgery was done 1.5 week ago. The implant fitted well. During some months the tailed patient will be under the care of physicians and taken periodically X-ray examination, and undergo medical tests,’ tells the master student.

The study will allow assessing the biocompatibility of the TPU implants, i.e. to what extent the implant material interacts with living tissues. Another objective of the study is to compare 3D polymer implants produced at TPU and 3D implants with titanium bioactive coatings also developed at the University.

Photo: 3D printed titanium implant with bioactive coatings

To be noted, the Russian Ilizarov Scientific Center for Restorative Traumatology and Orthopedics is a unique medical and research institution. This is a birthplace of transosseous osteosynthesis that is a method currently applied in over 60 countries. Over 9,000 people annually come here for treatment and rehabilitation. All diseases and injuries of the musculoskeletal system are treated in the Center. Tomsk Polytechnic University and Ilizarov Center cooperate within a strategic partnership agreement.

Gleb Dubinenko shares his impressions on the internship: ‘It was very useful for me as a person engaged in the development and research of new materials for orthopedic implants to communicate with the Center specialists, to understand what problems they deal with, and what direction orthopedics and traumatology evolve. Thanks to the internship at Ilizarov Center, I had opportunities to work with X-ray images, and to understand how bones grow when regenerating.’

The Laboratory for Plasma Hybrid Systems invites talented students and PhD students. The students might join such research areas as Development of Biodegradable Implants for Reconstructive and Regenerative Medicine, Development of Materials for Targeted Drug Delivery, Application of Coatings to Metal Implants (calcium-phosphate coatings, coatings out of bioinert and biodegradable polymers, composite coatings), Surface Modification of Polymer Coatings and Implants (chemical and physical), Computer-Aided Drug Design.

The research group invites third-year students and older with basic knowledge of physics, chemistry, materials science, biology, computer science, as well as English proficiency to join. Submit your application to