Development of a biodegradable bone graft for maxillofacial reconstruction through additive manufacturing

01 November 2020 → 31 October 2024
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Chemical characterisation of materials
    • Synthesis of materials
  • Engineering and technology
    • CAD/CAM systems
    • Biomaterials
    • Tissue engineering
Maxillofacial reconstruction Biodegradable HA/polymer composites Additive manufacturing
Project description

Maxillofacial defects, caused for instance by traffic accidents or tumor resection, have dramatic consequences for a patient’s quality of life. Besides fulfilling structural and cosmetic functions, bone grafts strongly improve the psychological condition of patients. However, the current gold standards for maxillofacial reconstruction (i.e. autologous and titanium bone grafts) remain suboptimal with limited vascularization and infections being the most prominent complications. In the current PhD project, a hybrid core-shell implant with a porous structure is proposed to address the above-mentioned shortcomings. Photo-crosslinkable polycaprolactone/polylactic acid combined with hydroxyapatite will function as core of the implant to provide structural integrity and osteoinduction. Photo-crosslinkable gelatin as shell will enable excellent cell attachment and infiltration. Moreover, the sustained release of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and the antibiotic clindamycin from the shell will stimulate vascularization and prevent infections respectively. Two types of additive manufacturing, namely Digital Light Processing (DLP) and core-shell extrusion, will be investigated to obtain the porous, patient-specific maxillofacial implants.