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Synthetic bones: a booming market

Synthetic bones: a booming market
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For nearly 20 years, a factory near Sao Paolo in Brazil has been producing synthetic bones for medical study and research.

Emulating human or animal bones, they are used to teach medicine and dentistry. Students use them to practice surgery and dental interventions.

The manufacturers say their product offers a more effective alternative to the various makeshift apparatus previously used.

“These bones help reduce medical errors by helping health care professionals train so they can practice their profession with greater precision and greater control,” says factory owner, Paulo Costa e Silva.

Made from polyurethane, the bones cost between 6 and 130 euros a piece, and are made by hand, which means they can adapt the product to the clients’ needs.

The company employs some 40 people, who experiment with new forms and combinations of material.

“We offer a lot of flexibility. For example, if you have a cranium, it can be cut into various parts, or a femur can be shaped to display a deformity, so it can demonstrate different types of anatomy,” says Paulo Costa e Silva.

The only factory of its kind in Latin America, Nacional Ossos produces some 300 types of synthetic body parts, which are exported to more than thirty different countries. Similar factories exist in the United States and in Switzerland.