Special Issue "3D Printing in Medicine and Biomedical Engineering"

A special issue of Materials (ISSN 1996-1944). This special issue belongs to the section "Biomaterials".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2022.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Filip Górski
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Management, Poznan University of Technology, Poznan, Poland

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Medicine and biomedical engineering are today among the most vital applications of 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing (AM). Both doctors and patients, as well as scientists can benefit from recent advancements in this technology and its increasing availability at acceptable cost. Additive manufacturing of polymers, metals, and composites is invaluable to making customized implants, orthopedic and prosthetic supplies, pre- and mid-surgery supplies, and a number of other medical and biomedical devices, as well as training and educational models for students. Bioprinting allows the building of complex structures using living cells of various types.

However, many aspects of 3D printing in medicine and biomedical engineering remain unknown and need thorough studies in order to make progress, especially considering the whole process of making medical products—starting from obtaining patients’ data via medical imaging through data processing, design of products, selecting or often designing new materials, preparing and organizing manufacturing processes, and tuning them to obtain products fulfilling often strict requirements of strength, accuracy, surface quality, and chemical and biological reactivity. Therefore, this Special Issue is dedicated to research and review papers tackling the problems of using additive technologies for medical and biomedical engineering applications.

Possible topics for this Special Issue include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • 3D printing for making customized implants;
  • 3D-printed orthopedic and prosthetic supplies and studies on them;
  • 3D-printed pre- and mid-surgery supplies;
  • 3D-printed medical devices;
  • Bioprinting of tissues and organs;
  • Preparing 3D printing processes for medicine—studies on the influence of process parameters on the properties of obtained products;
  • New materials for 3D printing in medicine and biomedical engineering—design and studies of mechanical, chemical, and biological properties;
  • Medical imaging—MRI, CT, ultrasound, optical and laser scanning, and data processing for the preparation of 3D printing processes; and
  • Numerical simulation of 3D-printed structures used in medicine.

Dr. Filip Górski
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Materials is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (15 papers)

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Research

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Article
A Three-Dimensional Printed Foot Orthosis for Flexible Flatfoot: An Exploratory Biomechanical Study on Arch Support Reinforcement and Undercut
Materials 2021, 14(18), 5297; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14185297 - 14 Sep 2021
Viewed by 656
Abstract
The advancement of 3D printing and scanning technology enables the digitalization and customization of foot orthosis with better accuracy. However, customized insoles require rectification to direct control and/or correct foot deformity, particularly flatfoot. In this exploratory study, we aimed at two design rectification [...] Read more.
The advancement of 3D printing and scanning technology enables the digitalization and customization of foot orthosis with better accuracy. However, customized insoles require rectification to direct control and/or correct foot deformity, particularly flatfoot. In this exploratory study, we aimed at two design rectification features (arch stiffness and arch height) using three sets of customized 3D-printed arch support insoles (R+U+, R+U−, and R−U+). The arch support stiffness could be with or without reinforcement (R+/−) and the arch height may or may not have an additional elevation, undercutting (U+/−), which were compared to the control (no insole). Ten collegiate participants (four males and six females) with flexible flatfoot were recruited for gait analysis on foot kinematics, vertical ground reaction force, and plantar pressure parameters. A randomized crossover trial was conducted on the four conditions and analyzed using the Friedman test with pairwise Wilcoxon signed-rank test. Compared to the control, there were significant increases in peak ankle dorsiflexion and peak pressure at the medial midfoot region, accompanied by a significant reduction in peak pressure at the hindfoot region for the insole conditions. In addition, the insoles tended to control hindfoot eversion and forefoot abduction though the effects were not significant. An insole with stronger support features (R+U+) did not necessarily produce more favorable outcomes, probably due to over-cutting or impingement. The outcome of this study provides additional data to assist the design rectification process. Future studies should consider a larger sample size with stratified flatfoot features and covariating ankle flexibility while incorporating more design features, particularly medial insole postings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 3D Printing in Medicine and Biomedical Engineering)
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Article
Study on Properties of Automatically Designed 3D-Printed Customized Prosthetic Sockets
Materials 2021, 14(18), 5240; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14185240 - 12 Sep 2021
Viewed by 507
Abstract
This paper presents the results of experiments conducted on a batch of additively manufactured customized prosthetic sockets for upper limbs, made of thermoplastics and designed automatically on the basis of a 3D-scanned limb of a 3-year-old patient. The aim of this work was [...] Read more.
This paper presents the results of experiments conducted on a batch of additively manufactured customized prosthetic sockets for upper limbs, made of thermoplastics and designed automatically on the basis of a 3D-scanned limb of a 3-year-old patient. The aim of this work was to compare sockets made of two different materials—rigid PLA and elastic TPE. Two distinct socket designs with various mounting systems were prepared. To find a reliable set of parameters for cheap and stable manufacturing of usable prostheses using 3D printers, realizing the fused deposition modeling (FDM) process, sets of sockets were manufactured with various process parameters. This paper presents the methodology of the design, the plan of the experiments and the obtained results in terms of process stability, fit and assessment by patient, as well as strength of the obtained sockets and their measured surface roughness. The results are promising, as most of the obtained products fulfil the strength criteria, although not all of them meet the fitting and use comfort criteria. As a result, recommendations of materials and process parameters were determined. These parameters were included in a prototype of the automated design and production system developed by the authors, and prostheses for several other patients were manufactured. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 3D Printing in Medicine and Biomedical Engineering)
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Article
Independent Lung Ventilation-Experimental Studies on a 3D Printed Respiratory Tract Model
Materials 2021, 14(18), 5189; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14185189 - 09 Sep 2021
Viewed by 377
Abstract
Independent lung ventilation (ILV) is a life-saving procedure in unilateral pulmonary pathologies. ILV is underused in clinical practice, mostly due to the technically demanding placement of a double lumen endotracheal tube (ETT). Moreover, the determination of ventilation parameters for each lung in vivo [...] Read more.
Independent lung ventilation (ILV) is a life-saving procedure in unilateral pulmonary pathologies. ILV is underused in clinical practice, mostly due to the technically demanding placement of a double lumen endotracheal tube (ETT). Moreover, the determination of ventilation parameters for each lung in vivo is limited. In recent years, the development of 3D printing techniques enabled the production of highly accurate physical models of anatomical structures used for in vitro research, considering the high risk of in vivo studies. The purpose of this study was to assess the influence of double-lumen ETT on the gas transport and mixing in the anatomically accurate 3D-printed model of the bronchial tree, with lung lobes of different compliances, using various ventilation modes. The bronchial tree was obtained from Respiratory Drug Delivery (RDD Online, Richmond, VA, USA), processed and printed by a dual extruder FFF 3D printer. The test system was also composed of left side double-lumen endotracheal tube, Siemens Test Lung 190 and anesthetic breathing bag (as lobes). Pressure and flow measurements were taken at the outlets of the secondary bronchus. The measured resistance increased six times in the presence of double-lumen ETT. Differences between the flow distribution to the less and more compliant lobe were more significant for the airways with double-lumen ETT. The ability to predict the actual flow distribution in model airways is necessary to conduct effective ILV in clinical conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 3D Printing in Medicine and Biomedical Engineering)
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Article
Calculation of Mass Transfer and Cell-Specific Consumption Rates to Improve Cell Viability in Bioink Tissue Constructs
Materials 2021, 14(16), 4387; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14164387 - 05 Aug 2021
Viewed by 501
Abstract
Biofabrication methods such as extrusion-based bioprinting allow the manufacture of cell-laden structures for cell therapy, but it is important to provide a sufficient number of embedded cells for the replacement of lost functional tissues. To address this issue, we investigated mass transfer rates [...] Read more.
Biofabrication methods such as extrusion-based bioprinting allow the manufacture of cell-laden structures for cell therapy, but it is important to provide a sufficient number of embedded cells for the replacement of lost functional tissues. To address this issue, we investigated mass transfer rates across a bioink hydrogel for the essential nutrients glucose and glutamine, their metabolites lactate and ammonia, the electron acceptor oxygen, and the model protein bovine serum albumin. Diffusion coefficients were calculated for these substances at two temperatures. We could confirm that diffusion depends on the molecular volume of the substances if the bioink has a high content of polymers. The analysis of pancreatic 1.1B4 β-cells revealed that the nitrogen source glutamine is a limiting nutrient for homeostasis during cultivation. Taking the consumption rates of 1.1B4 β-cells into account during cultivation, we were able to calculate the cell numbers that can be adequately supplied by the cell culture medium and nutrients in the blood using a model tissue construct. For blood-like conditions, a maximum of ~106 cells·mL−1 was suitable for the cell-laden construct, as a function of the diffused substrate and cell consumption rate for a given geometry. We found that oxygen and glutamine were the limiting nutrients in our model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 3D Printing in Medicine and Biomedical Engineering)
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Article
3D Plotting of Silica/Collagen Xerogel Granules in an Alginate Matrix for Tissue-Engineered Bone Implants
Materials 2021, 14(4), 830; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14040830 - 09 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 699
Abstract
Today, materials designed for bone regeneration are requested to be degradable and resorbable, bioactive, porous, and osteoconductive, as well as to be an active player in the bone-remodeling process. Multiphasic silica/collagen Xerogels were shown, earlier, to meet these requirements. The aim of the [...] Read more.
Today, materials designed for bone regeneration are requested to be degradable and resorbable, bioactive, porous, and osteoconductive, as well as to be an active player in the bone-remodeling process. Multiphasic silica/collagen Xerogels were shown, earlier, to meet these requirements. The aim of the present study was to use these excellent material properties of silica/collagen Xerogels and to process them by additive manufacturing, in this case 3D plotting, to generate implants matching patient specific shapes of fractures or lesions. The concept is to have Xerogel granules as active major components embedded, to a large proportion, in a matrix that binds the granules in the scaffold. By using viscoelastic alginate as matrix, pastes of Xerogel granules were processed via 3D plotting. Moreover, alginate concentration was shown to be the key to a high content of irregularly shaped Xerogel granules embedded in a minimum of matrix phase. Both the alginate matrix and Xerogel granules were also shown to influence viscoelastic behavior of the paste, as well as the dimensionally stability of the scaffolds. In conclusion, 3D plotting of Xerogel granules was successfully established by using viscoelastic properties of alginate as matrix phase. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 3D Printing in Medicine and Biomedical Engineering)
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Article
3D-Printed Hermetic Alumina Housings
Materials 2021, 14(1), 200; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14010200 - 03 Jan 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1474
Abstract
Ceramics are repeatedly investigated as packaging materials because of their gas tightness, e.g., as hermetic implantable housing. Recent advances also make it possible to print the established aluminum oxide in a Fused Filament Fabrication process, creating new possibilities for manufacturing personalized devices with [...] Read more.
Ceramics are repeatedly investigated as packaging materials because of their gas tightness, e.g., as hermetic implantable housing. Recent advances also make it possible to print the established aluminum oxide in a Fused Filament Fabrication process, creating new possibilities for manufacturing personalized devices with complex shapes. This study was able to achieve integration of channels with a diameter of 500 µm (pre-sintered) with a nozzle size of 250 µm (layer thickness 100 µm) and even closed hemispheres were printed without support structures. During sintering, the weight-bearing feedstock shrinks by 16.7%, resulting in a relative material density of 96.6%. The well-known challenges of the technology such as surface roughness (Ra = 15–20 µm) and integrated cavities remain. However, it could be shown that the hollow structures in bulk do not represent a mechanical weak point and that the material can be gas-tight (<10−12 mbar s−1). For verification, a volume-free helium leak test device was developed and validated. Finally, platinum coatings with high adhesion examined the functionalization of the ceramic. All the prerequisites for hermetic housings with integrated metal structures are given, with a new level of complexity of ceramic shapes available. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 3D Printing in Medicine and Biomedical Engineering)
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Article
Selective Laser Melting of Patient Individualized Osteosynthesis Plates—Digital to Physical Process Chain
Materials 2020, 13(24), 5786; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13245786 - 18 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 547
Abstract
We report on the exemplified realization of a digital to physical process chain for a patient individualized osteosynthesis plate for the tarsal bone area. Anonymized patient-specific data of the right feet were captured by computer tomography, which were then digitally processed to generate [...] Read more.
We report on the exemplified realization of a digital to physical process chain for a patient individualized osteosynthesis plate for the tarsal bone area. Anonymized patient-specific data of the right feet were captured by computer tomography, which were then digitally processed to generate a surface file format (standard tessellation language, STL) ready for additive manufacturing. Physical realization by selective laser melting in titanium using optimized parameter settings and post-processing by stress relief annealing results in a customized osteosynthesis plate with superior properties fulfilling medical demands. High fitting accuracy was demonstrated by applying the osteosynthesis plate to an equally good 3D printed bone model, which likewise was generated using the patient-specific computer tomography (CT) data employing selective laser sintering and polyamid 12. Proper fixation has been achieved without any further manipulation of the plate using standard screws, proving that based on CT data, individualized implants well adapted to the anatomical conditions can be accomplished without the need for additional steps, such as bending, cutting and shape trimming of precast bone plates during the surgical intervention. Beyond parameter optimization for selective laser melting, this exemplified digital to physical process chain highlights the potential of additive manufacturing for individualized osteosynthesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 3D Printing in Medicine and Biomedical Engineering)
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Article
AI-Optimized Technological Aspects of the Material Used in 3D Printing Processes for Selected Medical Applications
Materials 2020, 13(23), 5437; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13235437 - 29 Nov 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 924
Abstract
While the intensity, complexity, and specificity of robotic exercise may be supported by patient-tailored three-dimensional (3D)-printed solutions, their performance can still be compromised by non-optimal combinations of technological parameters and material features. The main focus of this paper was the computational optimization of [...] Read more.
While the intensity, complexity, and specificity of robotic exercise may be supported by patient-tailored three-dimensional (3D)-printed solutions, their performance can still be compromised by non-optimal combinations of technological parameters and material features. The main focus of this paper was the computational optimization of the 3D-printing process in terms of features and material selection in order to achieve the maximum tensile force of a hand exoskeleton component, based on artificial neural network (ANN) optimization supported by genetic algorithms (GA). The creation and 3D-printing of the selected component was achieved using Cura 0.1.5 software and 3D-printed using fused filament fabrication (FFF) technology. To optimize the material and process parameters we compared ten selected parameters of the two distinct printing materials (polylactic acid (PLA), PLA+) using ANN supported by GA built and trained in the MATLAB environment. To determine the maximum tensile force of the exoskeleton, samples were tested using an INSTRON 5966 universal testing machine. While the balance between the technical requirements and user safety constraints requires further analysis, the PLA-based 3D-printing parameters have been optimized. Additive manufacturing may support the successful printing of usable/functional exoskeleton components. The network indicated which material should be selected: Namely PLA+. AI-based optimization may play a key role in increasing the performance and safety of the final product and supporting constraint satisfaction in patient-tailored solutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 3D Printing in Medicine and Biomedical Engineering)
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Communication
3D Printed Model of Extrahepatic Biliary Ducts for Biliary Stent Testing
Materials 2020, 13(21), 4788; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13214788 - 27 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1307
Abstract
Several inflammatory conditions of the bile ducts cause strictures that prevent the drainage of bile into the gastrointestinal tract. Non-pharmacological treatments to re-establish bile flow include plastic or self-expanding metal stents (SEMs) that are inserted in the bile ducts during endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography [...] Read more.
Several inflammatory conditions of the bile ducts cause strictures that prevent the drainage of bile into the gastrointestinal tract. Non-pharmacological treatments to re-establish bile flow include plastic or self-expanding metal stents (SEMs) that are inserted in the bile ducts during endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) procedures. The focus of this study was to 3D print an anatomically accurate model of the extrahepatic bile ducts (EHBDs) with tissue-like mechanical properties to improve in vitro testing of stent prototypes. Following generation of an EHBD model via computer aided design (CAD), we tested the ability of Formlabs SLA 3D printers to precisely print the model with polymers selected based on the desired mechanical properties. We found the printers were reliable in printing the dimensionally accurate EHBD model with candidate polymers. Next, we evaluated the mechanical properties of Formlabs Elastic (FE), Flexible (FF), and Durable (FD) resins pre- and post-exposure to water, saline, or bile acid solution at 37 °C for up to one week. FE possessed the most bile duct-like mechanical properties based on its elastic moduli, percent elongations at break, and changes in mass under all liquid exposure conditions. EHBD models printed in FE sustained no functional damage during biliary stent deployment or when tube connectors were inserted, and provided a high level of visualization of deployed stents. These results demonstrate that our 3D printed EHBD model facilitates more realistic pre-clinical in vitro testing of biliary stent prototypes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 3D Printing in Medicine and Biomedical Engineering)
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Article
Determination of the Elasticity Modulus of Additively Manufactured Wrist Hand Orthoses
Materials 2020, 13(19), 4379; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13194379 - 01 Oct 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 687
Abstract
The article describes the experimental and simulation research on the material properties of the individualized wrist orthoses produced in the additive manufacturing (AM) process by the fused filament fabrication (FFF) method. The authors produced a series of standard (normalized) samples for three-point bending [...] Read more.
The article describes the experimental and simulation research on the material properties of the individualized wrist orthoses produced in the additive manufacturing (AM) process by the fused filament fabrication (FFF) method. The authors produced a series of standard (normalized) samples for three-point bending from acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) filament on a low-budget 3D printer and a series of samples in the shape of a fragment of the orthosis and the entire orthosis. All types of samples were subjected to experimental tests on a universal testing machine, which allowed us to determine the modulus of elasticity of the produced materials by comparing it with finite element method (FEM) simulation models in the ABAQUS environment. The adopted research methodology allowed us to compare the material properties of the material of the entire product—wrist hand orthosis (WHO)—with the material properties of standard bending samples. The obtained values of Young’s modulus are characterized by a large discrepancy between the standard samples and the entire orthosis. On the other hand, the samples with the shape of the middle part of the orthosis were similar in the value of Young’s modulus to the results obtained during the examination of the complete orthosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 3D Printing in Medicine and Biomedical Engineering)
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Article
An Integration of a Peristaltic Pump-Based Extruder into a 3D Bioprinter Dedicated to Hydrogels
Materials 2020, 13(19), 4237; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13194237 - 23 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 969
Abstract
The 3D printing technologies used for medical applications are mostly based on paste extruders. These are designed for high capacity, and thus often feature large material reservoirs and large diameter nozzles. A major challenge for most 3D printing platforms is a compromise between [...] Read more.
The 3D printing technologies used for medical applications are mostly based on paste extruders. These are designed for high capacity, and thus often feature large material reservoirs and large diameter nozzles. A major challenge for most 3D printing platforms is a compromise between speed, accuracy, and/or volume/mass of moving elements. To address these issues, we integrated a peristaltic pump into a bioprinter. That allowed for combining the most important requirements: high precision, a large material reservoir, and safety of biological material. The system of a fully heated nozzle and a cooled print bed were developed to maintain the optimal hydrogel temperature and crosslinking speed. Our modifications of the bioprinter design improved the mechanical properties of the printouts and their accuracy while maintaining the maximal survival rate of cells and increasing the capacity of the bioink reservoir. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 3D Printing in Medicine and Biomedical Engineering)
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Article
Experimental Studies on 3D Printing of Automatically Designed Customized Wrist-Hand Orthoses
Materials 2020, 13(18), 4091; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13184091 - 15 Sep 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1031
Abstract
The paper presents results of research conducted on a batch of additively manufactured individualized openwork wrist–hand orthoses made of thermoplastics and designed automatically based on 3D-scanned geometry of a given patient. The aim of the work was to establish an automated design process [...] Read more.
The paper presents results of research conducted on a batch of additively manufactured individualized openwork wrist–hand orthoses made of thermoplastics and designed automatically based on 3D-scanned geometry of a given patient. The aim of the work was to establish an automated design process and find a reliable set of parameters for rapid and affordable manufacturing of usable orthoses on popular 3D printers, with little or no supervision of the process. The paper presents motivations, methodology of automated design, plan of manufacturing and testing, the obtained results in terms of process stability, fit and assessment by patient and strength of the obtained orthoses. Almost 100 manufacturing processes of ready-to-use orthosis parts were carried out in a controlled environment and their results were analyzed thoroughly. The results are promising, as most of the obtained products fulfil the strength criteria, although not all of them meet the economic criteria. As a result, a recommended set of process parameters was determined. These parameters were included in a prototype of the automated design and in a production system developed by the authors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 3D Printing in Medicine and Biomedical Engineering)
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Article
Investigating the Response of Human Neutrophils to Hydrophilic and Hydrophobic Micro-Rough Titanium Surfaces
Materials 2020, 13(15), 3421; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13153421 - 03 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 980
Abstract
Various treatments have been used to change both the topography and chemistry of titanium surfaces, aiming to enhance tissue response and reduce healing times of endosseous implants. Most studies to date focused on bone healing around dental implants occurring later during the healing [...] Read more.
Various treatments have been used to change both the topography and chemistry of titanium surfaces, aiming to enhance tissue response and reduce healing times of endosseous implants. Most studies to date focused on bone healing around dental implants occurring later during the healing cascade. However, the impact of the initial inflammatory response in the surgical wound site on the success and healing time of dental implants is crucial for implant integration and success, yet it is still poorly understood. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of titanium surface hydrophilicity on the response of human neutrophils by monitoring oxygen radical production, which was measured as chemiluminescence activity. Materials and Methods: Neutrophils were isolated from human donors’ blood buffy coats using the double sucrose gradient method. Neutrophils were exposed to both hydrophilic and hydrophobic titanium surfaces with identical topographies in the presence and absence of human serum. This resulted in six experimental groups including two different implant surfaces, with and without exposure to human serum, and two control groups including an active control with cells alone and a passive control with no cells. Two samples from each group were fixed and analyzed by SEM. Comparisons between surface treatments for differences in chemiluminescence values were performed using analysis of variance ANOVA. Results and Conclusion: In the absence of exposure to serum, there was no significant difference noted between the reaction of neutrophils to hydrophilic and hydrophobic surfaces. However, there was a significant reduction in the mean and active chemiluminescence activity of neutrophils to serum-coated hydrophilic titanium surfaces than to serum-coated hydrophobic titanium surfaces. This suggests that surface hydrophilicity promotes enhanced adsorption of serum proteins, which leads to decreased provocation of initial immune cells and reduction of local oxygen radical production during wound healing. This can help explain the faster osseointegration demonstrated by hydrophilic titanium implants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 3D Printing in Medicine and Biomedical Engineering)
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Article
3D-Printed Drug Delivery Systems: The Effects of Drug Incorporation Methods on Their Release and Antibacterial Efficiency
Materials 2020, 13(15), 3364; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13153364 - 29 Jul 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1566
Abstract
Additive manufacturing technologies have been widely used in the medical field. More specifically, fused filament fabrication (FFF) 3D-printing technology has been thoroughly investigated to produce drug delivery systems. Recently, few researchers have explored the possibility of directly 3D printing such systems without the [...] Read more.
Additive manufacturing technologies have been widely used in the medical field. More specifically, fused filament fabrication (FFF) 3D-printing technology has been thoroughly investigated to produce drug delivery systems. Recently, few researchers have explored the possibility of directly 3D printing such systems without the need for producing a filament which is usually the feedstock material for the printer. This was possible via direct feeding of a mixture consisting of the carrier polymer and the required drug. However, as this direct feeding approach shows limited homogenizing abilities, it is vital to investigate the effect of the pre-mixing step on the quality of the 3D printed products. Our study investigates the two commonly used mixing approaches—solvent casting and powder mixing. For this purpose, polycaprolactone (PCL) was used as the main polymer under investigation and gentamicin sulfate (GS) was selected as a reference. The produced systems’ efficacy was investigated for bacterial and biofilm prevention. Our data show that the solvent casting approach offers improved drug distribution within the polymeric matrix, as was observed from micro-computed topography and scanning electron microscopy visualization. Moreover, this approach shows a higher drug release rate and thus improved antibacterial efficacy. However, there were no differences among the tested approaches in terms of thermal and mechanical properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 3D Printing in Medicine and Biomedical Engineering)
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Review

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Review
Utilization of Carbon Nanotubes in Manufacturing of 3D Cartilage and Bone Scaffolds
Materials 2020, 13(18), 4039; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13184039 - 11 Sep 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 1083
Abstract
Cartilage and bone injuries are prevalent ailments, affecting the quality of life of injured patients. Current methods of treatment are often imperfect and pose the risk of complications in the long term. Therefore, tissue engineering is a rapidly developing branch of science, which [...] Read more.
Cartilage and bone injuries are prevalent ailments, affecting the quality of life of injured patients. Current methods of treatment are often imperfect and pose the risk of complications in the long term. Therefore, tissue engineering is a rapidly developing branch of science, which aims at discovering effective ways of replacing or repairing damaged tissues with the use of scaffolds. However, both cartilage and bone owe their exceptional mechanical properties to their complex ultrastructure, which is very difficult to reproduce artificially. To address this issue, nanotechnology was employed. One of the most promising nanomaterials in this respect is carbon nanotubes, due to their exceptional physico-chemical properties, which are similar to collagens—the main component of the extracellular matrix of these tissues. This review covers the important aspects of 3D scaffold development and sums up the existing research tackling the challenges of scaffold design. Moreover, carbon nanotubes-reinforced bone and cartilage scaffolds manufactured using the 3D bioprinting technique will be discussed as a novel tool that could facilitate the achievement of more biomimetic structures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 3D Printing in Medicine and Biomedical Engineering)
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