Comparing Biodegradation of Three Families of Additively Manufactured Porous Bone Implants

H. Jahr, Y. Li, P. Pavanram, K. Lietaert, Julia Schenkel, M.A. Leeflang, J. Zhou, T. Pufe, A.A. Zadpoor

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting AbstractScientific


Bioabsorbable metals hold a lot of potential as orthopaedic implant materials. Three metal families are currently being investigated: iron (Fe), magnesium (Mg) and zinc (Zn). Currently, however, biodegradation of such implants is poorly predictable. We thus used Direct Metal Printing to additively manufacture porous implants of a standardized bone-mimetic design and evaluated their mechanical properties and degradation behaviour, respectively, under in vivo-like conditions.

Atomized powder was manufactured to porous implants of repetitive diamond unit cells, using a ProX DMP 320 (Layerwise, Belgium) or a custom-modified ReaLizer SLM50 metal printer. Degradation behaviour was characterized under static and dynamic conditions in a custom-built bioreactor system (37ºC, 5% CO2 and 20% O2) for up of 28 days. Implants were characterized by micro-CT before and after in vivo-like degradation. Mechanical characterization (according to ISO 13314: 2011) was performed on an Instron machine (10kN load cell) at different immersion times in simulated body fluid (r-SBF). Morphology and composition of degradation products were analysed (SEM, JSM-IT100, JEOL). Topographically identical titanium (Ti-6Al-4V, Ti64) specimen served as reference.

Micro-CT analyses confirmed average strut sizes (420 ± 4 μm), and porosity (64%), to be close to design values. After 28 days of in vivo-like degradation, scaffolds were macroscopically covered by degradation products in an alloy-specific manner. Weight loss after cleaning also varied alloy-specifically, as did the change in pH value of the r-SBF. Corrosion time-dependent changes in Young's moduli from 1200 to 800 MPa for Mg, 1000 to 700 MPa for Zn and 48-8 MPa for iron were statistically significant.

In summary, DMP allows to accurately control interconnectivity and topology of implants from all three families and micro-structured design holds potential to optimize their degradation speed. This first systematic report sheds light into how design influences degradation behaviour under in vivo-like conditions to help developing new standards for future medical device evaluation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-7
JournalOrthopaedic Proceedings
Issue numberSupp 11
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event28th Annual Meeting of the European Orthopaedic Research Society (EORS) - Online -
Duration: 17 Sept 202018 Sept 2020


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