Additively Manufactured Biodegradable Porous Zinc Implants for Orthopeadic Applications

P. Pavanram*, Y. Li, J. Zhou, Yusuke Kubo, K. Lietaert, M.A. Leeflang, L.I. Fockaert, B. Pouran, J.M.C. Mol, Harrie Weinans, H. Jahr

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting AbstractScientific


As compared to magnesium (Mg) and iron (Fe), solid zinc (Zn)-based absorbable implants show better degradation rates. An ideal bone substitute should provide sufficient mechanical support, but pure Zn itself is not strong enough for load-bearing medical applications. Modern processing techniques, like additive manufacturing (AM), can improve mechanical strength of Zn. To better mimic the in vivo situation in the human body, we evaluated the degradation behavior of porous Zn implants in vitro under dynamic conditions. Our study applied selective laser melting (SLM) to build topographically ordered absorbable Zn implants with superior mechanical properties. Specimens were fabricated from pure Zn powder using SLM and diamond unit cell topological design. In vitro degradation was performed under both static and dynamic conditions in a custom-built set-up under cell culture conditions (37 °C, 20% O2 and 5% CO2) for up to 28 days. Mechanical properties of the porous structures were determined according to ISO 13314: 2011 at different immersion time points. Modified ISO 10993 standards were used to evaluate biocompatibility through direct cell seeding and indirect extract-based cytotoxicity tests (MTS assay, Promega) against identically designed porous titanium (Ti-6Al-4V) specimens as reference material. Twenty-four hours after cell seeding, its efficacy was evaluated by Live-Dead staining (Abcam) and further analyzed using dual channel fluorescent optical imaging (FOI) and subsequent flow cytometric quantification. Porous Zn implants were successfully produced by means of SLM with a yield strength and Young's modulus in the range of 3.9–9.6 MPa and 265–570 MPa, respectively. Dynamic flow significantly increased the degradation rate of AM porous Zn after 28 days. Results from Zn extracts were similar to Ti-6Al-4V with >95% of cellular activity at all tested time points, confirming level 0 cytotoxicity (i.e., This study clearly shows the great potential of AM porous Zn as a bone substituting material. Moreover, we demonstrate that complex topological design permits control of mechanical properties and degradation behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-110
JournalOrthopaedic Proceedings
Issue numberSupp 4
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event27th Annual Meeting of the European Orthopaedic Research Society (EORS) - Maastricht, Netherlands
Duration: 2 Oct 20194 Oct 2019


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