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J Mater Sci Mater Med. 2001 Jun;12(6):471-8.

Hydroxyapatite implants with designed internal architecture.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.


Porous hydroxyapatite (HA) has been used as a bone graft material in the clinics for decades. Traditionally, the pores in these HAs are either obtained from the coralline exoskeletal patterns or from the embedded organic particles in the starting HA powder. Both processes offer very limited control on the pore structure. A new method for manufacturing porous HA with designed pore channels has been developed. This method is essentially a lost-mold technique with negative molds made with Stereolithography and a highly loaded curable HA suspension as the ceramic carrier. Implants with designed channels and connection patterns were first generated from a Computer-Aided-Design (CAD) software and Computer Tomography (CT) data. The negative images of the designs were used to build the molds on a stereolithography apparatus with epoxy resins. A 40 vol% HA suspension in propoxylated neopentyl glycol diacrylate (PNPGDA) and iso-bornyl acrylate (IBA) was formulated. HA suspension was cast into the epoxy molds and cured into solid at 85 degrees C. The molds and acrylate binders were removed by pyrolysis, followed by HA green body sintering. With this method, implants with six different channel designs were built successfully and the designed channels were reproduced in the sintered HA implants. The channels created in the sintered HA implants were between 366 microm and 968 microm in diameter with standard deviations of 50 microm or less. The porosity created by the channels were between 26% and 52%. The results show that HA implants with designed connection pattern and well controlled channel size can be built with the technique developed in this study.

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