Optimization of the modular reinforced bone scaffold for customized alveolar bone defects

Materials Letters 2023 Volume 331, Article 133413

A modular reinforced bone scaffold with enhanced mechanical properties has recently been developed by our group. It includes: 1) A load-bearing module: a skeleton which is made of a slowly degradable material, undertaking mechanical necessities of the scaffold, and 2) A bio-reactive module: a porous and biodegradable component undertaking biological necessities of the scaffold. The load-bearing module is placed into the bio-reactive module to reinforce it. This paper is dedicated to optimizing the load-bearing module for a certain customized alveolar bone defect. More specifically, a 3D-printed skeleton, made of polycaprolactone (PCL), is optimized based on the boundary conditions of the defect shape using the finite element method (FEM) to minimize the weight (to minimize the amount of PCL) and maximize the mechanical properties and porosity of the skeleton. Gelatin foam has been incorporated into the optimized skeleton through the aminolysis process to form the bio-reactive module. The mechanical characterization confirmed that the optimized load-bearing module has a bridge-like shape and can significantly improve the mechanical properties of the scaffold. Also, in vitro studies showed that the fabricated scaffold can improve cell proliferation and osteogenesis. This kind of scaffold can be useful for the treatment of critical-sized defects.