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Mater Sci Eng C Mater Biol Appl. 2011 Oct 10;31(7):1245-1256.

Bioactive glass scaffolds for bone tissue engineering: state of the art and future perspectives.

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  • 1Materials Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA 94720.


The repair and regeneration of large bone defects resulting from disease or trauma remains a significant clinical challenge. Bioactive glass has appealing characteristics as a scaffold material for bone tissue engineering, but the application of glass scaffolds for the repair of load-bearing bone defects is often limited by their low mechanical strength and fracture toughness. This paper provides an overview of recent developments in the fabrication and mechanical properties of bioactive glass scaffolds. The review reveals the fact that mechanical strength is not a real limiting factor in the use of bioactive glass scaffolds for bone repair, an observation not often recognized by most researchers and clinicians. Scaffolds with compressive strengths comparable to those of trabecular and cortical bones have been produced by a variety of methods. The current limitations of bioactive glass scaffolds include their low fracture toughness (low resistance to fracture) and limited mechanical reliability, which have so far received little attention. Future research directions should include the development of strong and tough bioactive glass scaffolds, and their evaluation in unloaded and load-bearing bone defects in animal models.

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