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Additive manufacturing of bone scaffolds

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Youwen Yang, Guoyong Wang, Huixin Liang, Chengde Gao, Shuping Peng, Lida Shen, Cijun Shuai


Additive manufacturing (AM) can obtain not only customized external shape but also porous internal structure for scaffolds, both of which are of great importance for repairing large segmental bone defects. The scaffold fabrication process generally involves scaffold design, AM, and post-treatments. Thus, this article firstly reviews the state-of-the-art of scaffold design, including computer-aided design, reverse modeling, topology optimization, and mathematical modeling. In addition, the current characteristics of several typical AM techniques, including selective laser sintering, fused deposition modeling (FDM), and electron beam melting (EBM), especially their advantages and limitations are presented. In particular, selective laser sintering is able to obtain scaffolds with nanoscale grains, due to its high heating rate and a short holding time. However, this character usually results in insufficient densification. FDM can fabricate scaffolds with a relative high accuracy of pore structure but with a relative low mechanical strength. EBM with a high beam-material coupling efficiency can process high melting point metals, but it exhibits a low-resolution and poor surface quality. Furthermore, the common post-treatments, with main focus on heat and surface treatments, which are applied to improve the comprehensive performance are also discussed. Finally, this review also discusses the future directions for AM scaffolds for bone tissue engineering.

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