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Int J Artif Organs. 2010 Oct;33(10):731-7.

Fabrication of custom-shaped grafts for cartilage regeneration.

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  • 1School of Mechanical Engineering, Chung-Ang University, Seoul, South Korea.



to create a custom-shaped graft through 3D tissue shape reconstruction and rapid-prototype molding methods using MRI data, and to test the accuracy of the custom-shaped graft against the original anatomical defect.


An iatrogenic defect on the distal femur was identified with a 1.5 Tesla MRI and its shape was reconstructed into a three-dimensional (3D) computer model by processing the 3D MRI data. First, the accuracy of the MRI-derived 3D model was tested against a laser-scan based 3D model of the defect. A custom-shaped polyurethane graft was fabricated from the laser-scan based 3D model by creating custom molds through computer aided design and rapid-prototyping methods. The polyurethane tissue was laser-scanned again to calculate the accuracy of this process compared to the original defect.


The volumes of the defect models from MRI and laser-scan were 537 mm3 and 405 mm3, respectively, implying that the MRI model was 33% larger than the laser-scan model. The average (±SD) distance deviation of the exterior surface of the MRI model from the laser-scan model was 0.4 ± 0.4 mm. The custom-shaped tissue created from the molds was qualitatively very similar to the original shape of the defect. The volume of the custom-shaped cartilage tissue was 463 mm3 which was 15% larger than the laser-scan model. The average (±SD) distance deviation between the two models was 0.04 ± 0.19 mm.


This investigation proves the concept that custom-shaped engineered grafts can be fabricated from standard sequence 3-D MRI data with the use of CAD and rapid-prototyping technology. The accuracy of this technology may help solve the interfacial problem between native cartilage and graft, if the grafts are custom made for the specific defect. The major source of error in fabricating a 3D custom-shaped cartilage graft appears to be the accuracy of a MRI data itself; however, the precision of the model is expected to increase by the utilization of advanced MR sequences with higher magnet strengths.

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