Regeneration of load-bearing segmental bone defects is a major challenge in trauma and orthopaedic surgery. The ideal bone graft substitute is a biomaterial that provides immediate mechanical stability, while stimulating bone regeneration to completely bridge defects over a short period. Therefore, selective laser melted porous titanium, designed and fine-tuned to tolerate full load-bearing, was filled with a physiologically concentrated fibrin gel loaded with bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2). This biomaterial was used to graft critical-sized segmental femoral bone defects in rats. As a control, porous titanium implants were either left empty or filled with a fibrin gels without BMP-2. We evaluated bone regeneration, bone quality and mechanical strength of grafted femora using in vivo and ex vivo microCT scanning, histology, and torsion testing. This biomaterial completely regenerated and bridged the critical-sized bone defects within eight weeks. After twelve weeks, femora were anatomically re-shaped and revealed open medullary cavities. More importantly, new bone was formed throughout the entire porous titanium implants and grafted femora regained more than their innate mechanical stability: torsional strength exceeded twice their original strength. In conclusion, combining porous titanium implants with a physiologically concentrated fibrin gels loaded with BMP-2 improved bone regeneration in load-bearing segmental defects. This material combination now awaits its evaluation in larger animal models to show its suitability for grafting load-bearing defects in trauma and orthopaedic surgery.

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Surgery and Traumatology
European Cells & Materials
Department of Surgery

van der Stok, J., Koolen, M. K. E., de Maat, M., Amin Yavari, S., Alblas, J., Patka, P., … Jahr, H. (2015). Full regeneration of segmental bone defects using porous titanium implants loaded with BMP-2 containing fibrin gels. European Cells & Materials, 2015(29), 141–154. Retrieved from