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The European Orthopaedic Research Society (EORS) 2018 Meeting, PART 2, Galway, Ireland, September 2018.


The ideal bone substituting biomaterials should possess bone-mimicking mechanical properties; have of porous interconnected structure, and adequate biodegradation behaviour to enable full recovery of bony defects. Direct metal printed porous scaffolds hold potential to satisfy all these requirements and were additively manufactured (AM) from atomized WE43 magnesium alloy powder with grain sizes between 20 and 60 μm. Their micro-structure, mechanical properties, degradation behavior and biocompatibility was then evaluated in vitro. Firstly, post-processing values nicely followed design parameters. Next, Young's moduli were similar to that of trabecular bone (i.e., E = 700–800 MPa) even after 28 days of simulated in vivo-like corrosion by in vitro immersion. Also, a relatively moderate hydrogen evolution, corresponding to a calculated 19.2% of scaffold mass loss, was in good agreement with 20.7% volume reduction as derived from reconstructed μCT images. Finally, only moderate cytotoxicity (i.e., level 0, <25%), even after extensive ISO 10993-conform testing for 72 h using MG-63 cells, was determined using WE43 extracts (2 way ANOVA, post-hoc Tukey's multiple comparisons test; α = 0.05). Cytotoxicity was further evaluated by direct live-dead staining assays, revealing a higher cell death in static culture. However, intimate cell-metal contact was observed by SEM. In summary, while pure WE43 may not yet be an ideal surface for cell adhesion, this novel AM process allows for adjusting biodegradation through topological design. Our approach holds tremendous potential to develop functional and biodegradable implants for orthopaedic applications.