Hydroxyapatite fiber reinforced poly(α-hydroxy ester) foams for bone regeneration

Robert C. Thomson, Michael J. Yaszemski, John M. Powers, Antonios G. Mikos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

361 Scopus citations


A process has been developed to manufacture biodegradable composite foams of poly(DL-lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) and hydroxyapatite short fibers for use in bone regeneration. The processing technique allows the manufacture of three-dimensional foam scaffolds and involves the formation of a composite material consisting of a porogen material (either gelatin microspheres or salt particles) and hydroxyapatite short fibers embedded in a PLGA matrix. After the porogen is leached out, an open-cell composite foam remains which has a pore size and morphology defined by the porogen. By changing the weight fraction of the leachable component it was possible to produce composite foams with controlled porosities ranging from 0.47 ± 0.02 to 0.85 ± 0.01 (n = 3). Up to a polymer:fiber ratio of 7:6, short hydroxyapatite fibers served to reinforce low-porosity PLGA foams manufactured using gelatin microspheres as a porogen. Foams with a compressive yield strength up to 2.82 ± 0.63 MPa (n = 3) and a porosity of 0.47 ± 0.02 (n = 3) were manufactured using a polymer:fiber weight ratio of 7:6. In contrast, high-porosity composite foams (up to 0.81 ± 0.02, n = 3) suitable for cell seeding were not reinforced by the introduction of increasing quantities of hydroxyapatite short fibers. We were therefore able to manufacture high-porosity foams which may be seeded with cells but which have minimal compressive yield strength, or low porosity foams with enhanced osteoconductivity and compressive yield strength.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1935-1943
Number of pages9
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1998


  • Bone regeneration
  • Foam scaffold
  • Hydroxyapatite fiber
  • Orthopaedic biomaterial
  • PLGA
  • Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid)
  • Polymer processing
  • Tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials
  • Mechanics of Materials


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