Toward smart implant synthesis: bonding bioceramics of different resorbability to match bone growth rates.
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Craniofacial reconstructive surgery requires a bioactive bone implant capable to provide a gradual resorbability and to adjust to the kinetics of new bone formation during healing. Biomaterials made of calcium phosphate or bioactive glasses are currently available, mainly as bone defect fillers, but it is still required a versatile processing technique to fabricate composition-gradient bioceramics for application as controlled resorption implants. Here it is reported the application of rapid prototyping based on laser cladding to produce three-dimensional bioceramic implants comprising of a calcium phosphate inner core, with moderate in vitro degradation at physiological pH, surrounded by a bioactive glass outer layer of higher degradability. Each component of the implant is validated in terms of chemical and physical properties, and absence of toxicity. Pre-osteoblastic cell adhesion and proliferation assays reveal the adherence and growth of new bone cells on the material. This technique affords implants with gradual-resorbability for restoration of low-load-bearing bone.