Investigation of microstructural features in regenerating bone using micro computed tomography

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Journal Article
Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine, 2004, 15 (4), pp. 529 - 532
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We illustrate some of the uses of micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) to study tissue-engineered bone using a micro-CT facility for imaging and visualizing biomaterials in three dimensions (3-D). The micro-CT is capable of acquiring 3D X-ray CT images made up of 20003 voxels on specimens up to 5 cm in extent with resolutions down to 2 μm. This allows the 3-D structure of tissue-engineered materials to be imaged across orders of magnitude in resolution. This capability is used to examine an explanted, tissue-engineered bone material based on a polycaprolactone scaffold and autologous bone marrow cells. Imaging of the tissue-engineered bone at a scale of 1 cm and resolutions of 10 μm allows one to visualize the complex ingrowth of bone into the polymer scaffold. From a theoretical viewpoint the voxel data may also be used to calculate expected mechanical properties of the tissue-engineered implant. These observations illustrate the benefits of tomography over traditional techniques for the characterization of bone morphology and interconnectivity. As the method is nondestructive it can perform a complimentary role to current histomorphometric techniques. © 2004 Kluwer Academic Publishers.
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