Autologous bone grafts remain the gold standard for craniofacial reconstruction despite limitations of donor-site availability and morbidity. A myriad of commercial bone substitutes and allografts are available, yet no product has gained widespread use because of inferior clinical outcomes. The ideal bone substitute is both osteoconductive and osteoinductive. Craniofacial reconstruction often involves irregular three-dimensional defects, which may benefit from malleable or customizable substrates. “Hyperelastic Bone” is a three-dimensionally printed synthetic scaffold, composed of 90% by weight hydroxyapatite and 10% by weight poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid), with inherent bioactivity and porosity to allow for tissue integration. This study examines the capacity of Hyperelastic Bone for bone regeneration in a critical-size calvarial defect.
Eight-millimeter calvarial defects in adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were treated with three-dimensionally printed Hyperelastic Bone, three-dimensionally printed Fluffy–poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) without hydroxyapatite, autologous bone (positive control), or left untreated (negative control). Animals were euthanized at 8 or 12 weeks postoperatively and specimens were analyzed for new bone formation by cone beam computed tomography, micro–computed tomography, and histology.
The mineralized bone volume–to–total tissue volume fractions for the Hyperelastic Bone cohort at 8 and 12 weeks were 74.2 percent and 64.5 percent of positive control bone volume/total tissue, respectively (p = 0.04). Fluffy–poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) demonstrated little bone formation, similar to the negative control. Histologic analysis of Hyperelastic Bone scaffolds revealed fibrous tissue at 8 weeks, and new bone formation surrounding the scaffold struts by 12 weeks.
Findings from our study suggest that Hyperelastic Bone grafts are effective for bone regeneration, with significant potential for clinical translation.