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Keywords:

  • porous titanium;
  • osteoconduction;
  • bone substitute;
  • bone grafting;
  • micro-CT

Abstract

Porous titanium scaffolds have good mechanical properties that make them an interesting bone substitute material for large bone defects. These scaffolds can be produced with selective laser melting, which has the advantage of tailoring the structure's architecture. Reducing the strut size reduces the stiffness of the structure and may have a positive effect on bone formation. Two scaffolds with struts of 120-µm (titanium-120) or 230-µm (titanium-230) were studied in a load-bearing critical femoral bone defect in rats. The defect was stabilized with an internal plate and treated with titanium-120, titanium-230, or left empty. In vivo micro-CT scans at 4, 8, and 12 weeks showed more bone in the defects treated with scaffolds. Finally, 18.4 ± 7.1 mm3 (titanium-120, p = 0.015) and 18.7 ± 8.0 mm3 (titanium-230, p = 0.012) of bone was formed in those defects, significantly more than in the empty defects (5.8 ± 5.1 mm3). Bending tests on the excised femurs after 12 weeks showed that the fusion strength reached 62% (titanium-120) and 45% (titanium-230) of the intact contralateral femurs, but there was no significant difference between the two scaffolds. This study showed that in addition to adequate mechanical support, porous titanium scaffolds facilitate bone formation, which results in high mechanical integrity of the treated large bone defects. © 2012 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 31: 792–799, 2013