Advanced computer-aided design for bone tissue-engineering scaffolds
2009-05-12T14:20:15Z (GMT) by
The design of scaffolds with an intricate and controlled internal structure represents a challenge for tissue engineering. Several scaffold-manufacturing techniques allow the creation of complex architectures but with little or no control over the main features of the channel network such as the size, shape, and interconnectivity of each individual channel, resulting in intricate but random structures. The combined use of computer-aided design (CAD) systems and layer-manufacturing techniques allows a high degree of control over these parameters with few limitations in terms of achievable complexity. However, the design of complex and intricate networks of channels required in CAD is extremely time-consuming since manually modelling hundreds of different geometrical elements, all with different parameters, may require several days to design individual scaffold structures. An automated design methodology is proposed by this research to overcome these limitations. This approach involves the investigation of novel software algorithms, which are able to interact with a conventional CAD program and permit the automated design of several geometrical elements, each with a different size and shape. In this work, the variability of the parameters required to define each geometry has been set as random, but any other distribution could have been adopted. This methodology has been used to design five cubic scaffolds with interconnected pore channels that range from 200 to 800 μm in diameter, each with an increased complexity of the internal geometrical arrangement. A clinical case study, consisting of an integration of one of these geometries with a craniofacial implant, is then presented.