Quantitative analysis of interconnectivity of porous biodegradable scaffolds with micro-computed tomography

Michael J. Moore, Esmaiel Jabbari, Erik L. Ritman, Lichun Lu, Bradford L. Currier, Anthony J. Windebank, Michael J. Yaszemski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

143 Scopus citations

Abstract

Pore interconnectivity within scaffolds is an important parameter influencing cell migration and tissue ingrowth needed to promote tissue regeneration. Methods for assessment of interconnectivity are usually qualitative, restricted to two-dimensional images, or are destructive. Microcomputed tomography nondestructively provides three-dimensional (3D) images of intact specimens at high spatial resolutions. We describe an image analysis technique for quantitative assessment of scaffold interconnectivity. Scaffolds were made via a particulate leaching process with 75%, 80%, 85%, and 88% volumetric porogen fractions. Specimens were scanned and resulting 3D, digital images were analyzed with a custom algorithm. A series of virtual, idealized scaffolds were also created for illustration of the algorithm's analysis approach and for its validation. The program calculated accessible void fractions over a range of minimum connection sizes. In real specimens, nearly 100% of the porous volume was connected with outside air for connections greater than or equal to 20 μm in their smallest dimension. In scaffolds made with 75% porogen, the accessible void fraction decreased to 78% if only those connections greater than or equal to 260 μm were considered. The relationship between accessible void fraction and connection size varied as a function of porogen content. The interconnectivity parameter described here may have implications for cell migration and tissue growth into scaffolds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)258-267
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A
Volume71
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2004

Keywords

  • Image analysis
  • Interconnectivity
  • Microstructure
  • Porosity
  • Scaffold

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Metals and Alloys

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