Integration and analysis of configurable lattice geometry for prosthetic bone morphology
Prostheses have enabled many people with bone injuries to achieve a quality of life that would be difficult without the advances in biomedical engineering and materials sciences. Exploration of alternatives to current methods of prosthetic bone development will result in more options from both the physician and patient perspective for the replacement of bone and the use of bone substitutes. Thus, new bone prostheses can be customized to a patient’s needs. To address rising healthcare costs, 3D printed bone substitutes are enabling affordable and customizable bone replacements. In this study, we designed a strong yet lightweight structural matrix to substitute bone grafts in cases of comminuted fracture of tibial bone. The artificial matrix is inspired by structural components called voxels that have been demonstrated to be feasible in the areas of aerospace for fixed and morphing wing flight. The basis of this voxel matrix is derived from units of hollow eight-sided faces formed from 12 connected struts. In this study, we have produced and simulated a lattice that can resemble natural bone performance. This bone facsimile has been evaluated using finite element analysis to suggest an optimal voxel density and beam width at which the internal structure has a high elastic modulus to relative density ratio for use as a scaffold during bone reconstruction. A lattice-based implant was designed and evaluated using finite-element analysis for osteosarcoma-afflicted long bones such as the tibia. This study should pave the way for bone implants made of strong but lightweight structures can help patients regain the faculties of natural bone. Ultimately, this structure would be constructed from biocompatible materials that provide nutrients for natural bone regeneration processes. With this, the structure would reabsorb completely into the healing bone, after providing a matrix upon which osteoblasts can form new bone.