Critical-size bone defects are those that will not heal without intervention and can arise secondary to trauma, infection, and surgical resection of tumors. Treatment options are currently limited to filling the defect with autologous bone, of which there is not always an abundant supply, or ceramic pastes that only allow for limited osteo-inductive and -conductive capacity.
In this study we investigate the repair of bone defects using a 3D printed LayFomm scaffold. LayFomm is a polymer blend of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) and polyurethane (PU). It can be printed using the most common method of 3D printing, fused deposition modeling, before being washed in water-based solutions to remove the PVA. This leaves a more compliant, micro-porous PU elastomer. In vitro analysis of dental pulp stem cells seeded onto macro-porous scaffolds showed their ability to adhere, proliferate and form mineralized matrix on the scaffold in the presence of osteogenic media. Subcutaneous implantation of LayFomm in a rat model showed the formation of a vascularized fibrous capsule, but without a chronic inflammatory response. Implantation into a mandibular defect showed significantly increased mineralized tissue production when compared to a currently approved bone putty. While their mechanical properties are insufficient for use in load-bearing defects, these findings are promising for the use of polyurethane scaffolds in craniofacial bone regeneration.
Materialise Manufacturing, a leader in 3-D printing solutions with U.S. operations based in Plymouth Township, has...