Premixed macroporous calcium phosphate cement scaffold
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Calcium phosphate cement (CPC) sets in situ to form resorbable hydroxyapatite and is promising for orthopaedic applications. However, it requires on-site powder-liquid mixing during surgery, which prolongs surgical time and raises concerns of inhomogeneous mixing. The objective of this study was to develop a premixed CPC scaffold with macropores suitable for tissue ingrowth. To avoid the on-site powder-liquid mixing, the CPC paste was mixed in advance and did not set in storage; it set only after placement in a physiological solution. Using 30% and 40% mass fractions of mannitol porogen, the premixed CPC scaffold with fibers had flexural strength (mean ± sd; n = 5) of (3.9 ± 1.4) MPa and (1.8 ± 0.8) MPa, respectively. The scaffold porosity reached (68.6 ± 0.7)% and (74.7 ± 1.2)%, respectively. Osteoblast cells colonized in the surface macropores of the scaffold and attached to the hydroxyapatite crystals. Cell viability values for the premixed CPC scaffold was not significantly different from that of a conventional non-premixed CPC known to be biocompatible (P > 0.1). In conclusion, using fast-dissolving porogen and slow-dissolving fibers, a premixed macroporous CPC scaffold was developed with strength approaching the reported strengths of sintered porous hydroxyapatite implants and cancellous bone, and non-cytotoxicity similar to a biocompatible non-premixed CPC.