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Biomaterials. 2008 Oct;29(28):3799-806. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2008.06.012. Epub 2008 Jul 7.

The morphology of anisotropic 3D-printed hydroxyapatite scaffolds.

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1
Biomaterials Science Center, University of Basel, 4031 Basel, Switzerland.

Abstract

Three-dimensional (3D) scaffolds with tailored pores ranging from the nanometer to millimeter scale can support the reconstruction of centimeter-sized osseous defects. Three-dimensional-printing processes permit the voxel-wise fabrication of scaffolds. The present study rests upon 3D-printing with nano-porous hydroxyapatite granulates. The cylindrical design refers to a hollow bone with higher density at the periphery. The millimeter-wide central channel follows the symmetry axis and connects the perpendicularly arranged micro-pores. Synchrotron radiation-based micro computed tomography has served for the non-destructive characterization of the scaffolds. The 3D data treatment is essential, since, for example, the two-dimensional distance maps overestimate the mean distances to the material by 33-50% with respect to the 3D analysis. The scaffolds contain 70% micrometer-wide pores that are interconnected. Using virtual spheres, which might be related to the cells migrating along the pores, the central channel remains accessible through the micro-pores for spheres with a diameter of up to (350+/-35)mum. Registering the tomograms with their 3D-printing matrices has yielded the almost isotropic shrinking of (27+/-2)% owing to the sintering process. This registration also allows comparing the design and tomographic data in a quantitative manner to extract the quality of the fabricated scaffolds. Histological analysis of the scaffolds seeded with osteogenic-stimulated progenitor cells has confirmed the suitability of the 3D-printed scaffolds for potential clinical applications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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