Introduction: Tissue engineering provides an alternative modality allowing for decreased morbidity of donor site grafting and decreased rejection of less compatible alloplastic tissues.
Methods: Using image-based design and computer software, a precisely sized and shaped scaffold for osseous tissue regeneration can be created via selective laser sintering. Polycaprolactone has been used to create a condylar ramus unit (CRU) scaffold for application in temporomandibular joint reconstruction in a Yucatan minipig animal model. Following sacrifice, micro-computed tomography and histology was used to demonstrate the efficacy of this particular scaffold design.
Results: A proof-of-concept surgery has demonstrated cartilaginous tissue regeneration along the articulating surface with exuberant osseous tissue formation. Bone volumes and tissue mineral density at both the 1 and 3 month time points demonstrated significant new bone growth interior and exterior to the scaffold.
Conclusion: Computationally designed scaffolds can support masticatory function in a large animal model as well as both osseous and cartilage regeneration. Our group is continuing to evaluate multiple implant designs in both young and mature Yucatan minipig animals.
2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.