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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Tissue Engineering Scaffolds Fabricated in Dissolvable 3D-Printed Molds for Patient-Specific Craniofacial Bone Regeneration

1
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO 63103, USA
2
Department of Surgery, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO 63104, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
J. Funct. Biomater. 2018, 9(3), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/jfb9030046
Received: 28 June 2018 / Revised: 18 July 2018 / Accepted: 19 July 2018 / Published: 24 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 3D Printing of Biomaterials)
The current gold standard treatment for oral clefts is autologous bone grafting. This treatment, however, presents another wound site for the patient, greater discomfort, and pediatric patients have less bone mass for bone grafting. A potential alternative treatment is the use of tissue engineered scaffolds. Hydrogels are well characterized nanoporous scaffolds and cryogels are mechanically durable, macroporous, sponge-like scaffolds. However, there has been limited research on these scaffolds for cleft craniofacial defects. 3D-printed molds can be combined with cryogel/hydrogel fabrication to create patient-specific tissue engineered scaffolds. By combining 3D-printing technology and scaffold fabrication, we were able to create scaffolds with the geometry of three cleft craniofacial defects. The scaffolds were then characterized to assess the effect of the mold on their physical properties. While the scaffolds were able to completely fill the mold, creating the desired geometry, the overall volumes were smaller than expected. The cryogels possessed porosities ranging from 79.7% to 87.2% and high interconnectivity. Additionally, the cryogels swelled from 400% to almost 1500% of their original dry weight while the hydrogel swelling did not reach 500%, demonstrating the ability to fill a defect site. Overall, despite the complex geometry, the cryogel scaffolds displayed ideal properties for bone reconstruction. View Full-Text
Keywords: cryogel; hydrogel; 3D printing; patient-specific; craniofacial defects; bone regeneration; tissue engineering cryogel; hydrogel; 3D printing; patient-specific; craniofacial defects; bone regeneration; tissue engineering
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De la Lastra, A.A.; Hixon, K.R.; Aryan, L.; Banks, A.N.; Lin, A.Y.; Hall, A.F.; Sell, S.A. Tissue Engineering Scaffolds Fabricated in Dissolvable 3D-Printed Molds for Patient-Specific Craniofacial Bone Regeneration. J. Funct. Biomater. 2018, 9, 46.

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