, Volume 33, Issue 10, pp 1333-1343

Computer-Aided Tissue Engineering of a Human Vertebral Body

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Tissue engineering is developing into a less speculative science involving the careful interplay of numerous design parameters and multidisciplinary professionals. Problem solving abilities and state of the art research tools are required to develop solutions for a wide variety of clinical issues. One area of particular interest is orthopedic biomechanics, a field that is responsible for the treatment of over 700,000 vertebral fractures in the United States alone last year. Engineers are currently lacking the technology and knowledge required to govern the subsistence of cells in vivo, let alone the knowledge to create a functional tissue replacement for a whole organ. Despite this, advances in computer-aided tissue engineering are continually growing. Using a combinatory approach to scaffold design, patient-specific implants may be constructed. Computer-aided design, optimization of geometry using voxel finite element models or other optimization routines, creation of a library of architectures with specific material properties, rapid prototyping, and determination of a defect site using imaging modalities highlight the current availability of design resources. This study proposes a novel methodology from start to finish which could, in the future, be used to design a tissue-engineered construct for the replacement of an entire vertebral body.