Laser Sintering Approaches for Bone Tissue Engineering
The adoption of additive manufacturing (AM) techniques into the medical space has revolutionised tissue engineering. Depending upon the tissue type, specific AM approaches are capable of closely matching the physical and biological tissue attributes, to guide tissue regeneration. For hard tissue such as bone, powder bed fusion (PBF) techniques have significant potential, as they are capable of fabricating materials that can match the mechanical requirements necessary to maintain bone functionality and support regeneration. This review focuses on the PBF techniques that utilize laser sintering for creating scaffolds for bone tissue engineering (BTE) applications. Optimal scaffold requirements are explained, ranging from material biocompatibility and bioactivity, to generating specific architectures to recapitulate the porosity, interconnectivity, and mechanical properties of native human bone. The main objective of the review is to outline the most common materials processed using PBF in the context of BTE; initially outlining the most common polymers, including polyamide, polycaprolactone, polyethylene, and polyetheretherketone. Subsequent sections investigate the use of metals and ceramics in similar systems for BTE applications. The last section explores how composite materials can be used. Within each material section, the benefits and shortcomings are outlined, including their mechanical and biological performance, as well as associated printing parameters. The framework provided can be applied to the development of new, novel materials or laser-based approaches to ultimately generate bone tissue analogues or for guiding bone regeneration.