A 3D printer is being used to create "bone-like" material which researchers claim can be used to repair injuries.
The engineers say the substance can be added to damaged natural bone where it acts as a scaffold for new cells to grow.
It ultimately dissolves with "no apparent ill-effects", the team adds.
The researchers say doctors should be able to use the process to custom-order replacement bone tissue in a few years time.
Prof Susmita Bose helped carry out the work at Washington State University and co-authored a report in the Dental Materials journal.
"You can use the bone-like ceramic powder as a feed material and it can make whatever you draw on the computer," she says.
"It is mostly [suitable for] low load bearing applications. However, what we are trying to develop is the controlled degradation... of these scaffolds where as the scaffold dissolves in the body the bone tissue grows over it." more