Additively manufactured biodegradable porous magnesium

Y. Li, J. Zhou, P. Pavanram, M. A. Leeflang, L. I. Fockaert, B. Pouran, N. Tümer, K. U. Schröder, J. M.C. Mol, H. Weinans, H. Jahr, A. A. Zadpoor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


An ideal bone substituting material should be bone-mimicking in terms of mechanical properties, present a precisely controlled and fully interconnected porous structure, and degrade in the human body to allow for full regeneration of large bony defects. However, simultaneously satisfying all these three requirements has so far been highly challenging. Here we present topologically ordered porous magnesium (WE43) scaffolds based on the diamond unit cell that were fabricated by selective laser melting (SLM) and satisfy all the requirements. We studied the in vitro biodegradation behavior (up to 4 weeks), mechanical properties and biocompatibility of the developed scaffolds. The mechanical properties of the AM porous WE43 (E = 700-800 MPa) scaffolds were found to fall into the range of the values reported for trabecular bone even after 4 weeks of biodegradation. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), electrochemical tests and μCT revealed a unique biodegradation mechanism that started with uniform corrosion, followed by localized corrosion, particularly in the center of the scaffolds. Biocompatibility tests performed up to 72 h showed level 0 cytotoxicity (according to ISO 10993-5 and -12), except for one time point (i.e., 24 h). Intimate contact between cells (MG-63) and the scaffolds was also observed in SEM images. The study shows for the first time that AM of porous Mg may provide distinct possibilities to adjust biodegradation profile through topological design and open up unprecedented opportunities to develop multifunctional bone substituting materials that mimic bone properties and enable full regeneration of critical-size load-bearing bony defects. Statement of Significance: The ideal biomaterials for bone tissue regeneration should be bone-mimicking in terms of mechanical properties, present a fully interconnected porous structure, and exhibit a specific biodegradation behavior to enable full regeneration of bony defects. Recent advances in additive manufacturing have resulted in biomaterials that satisfy the first two requirements but simultaneously satisfying the third requirement has proven challenging so far. Here we present additively manufactured porous magnesium structures that have the potential to satisfy all above-mentioned requirements. Even after 4 weeks of biodegradation, the mechanical properties of the porous structures were found to be within those reported for native bone. Moreover, our comprehensive electrochemical, mechanical, topological, and biological study revealed a unique biodegradation behavior and the limited cytotoxicity of the developed biomaterials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)378-392
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Volume67 ( Febr. 2018)
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Additive manufacturing
  • Biocompatibility
  • Biodegradation
  • Magnesium scaffolds
  • Mechanical property
  • Selective laser melting


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