Adapting trabecular structures for 3D printing: an image processing approach based on µCT data

Please always quote using this URN: urn:nbn:de:0297-zib-64004
  • Materials with a trabecular structure notably combine advantages such as lightweight, reasonable strength, and permeability for fluids. This combination of advantages is especially interesting for tissue engineering in trauma surgery and orthopedics. Bone-substituting scaffolds for instance are designed with a trabecular structure in order to allow cell migration for bone ingrowth and vascularization. An emerging and recently very popular technology to produce such complex, porous structures is 3D printing. However, several technological aspects regarding the scaffold architecture, the printable resolution, and the feature size have to be considered when fabricating scaffolds for bone tissue replacement and regeneration. Here, we present a strategy to assess and prepare realistic trabecular structures for 3D printing using image analysis with the aim of preserving the structural elements. We discuss critical conditions of the printing system and present a 3-stage approach to adapt a trabecular structure from $\mu$CT data while incorporating knowledge about the printing system. In the first stage, an image-based extraction of solid and void structures is performed, which results in voxel- and graph-based representations of the extracted structures. These representations not only allow us to quantify geometrical properties such as pore size or strut geometry and length. But, since the graph represents the geometry and the topology of the initial structure, it can be used in the second stage to modify and adjust feature size, volume and sample size in an easy and consistent way. In the final reconstruction stage, the graph is then converted into a voxel representation preserving the topology of the initial structure. This stage generates a model with respect to the printing conditions to ensure a stable and controlled voxel placement during the printing process.

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Author:Ulrike Homberg, Daniel Baum, Steffen Prohaska, Jens Günster, Stefanie Krauß-Schüler
Document Type:ZIB-Report
Tag:additive manufacturing; image-based analysis; printability; trabecular structures
Date of first Publication:2017/05/15
Series (Serial Number):ZIB-Report (17-26)

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