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Additive Manufacturing of Multi-Scale Porous Soft Tissue Implants That Encourage Vascularization and Tissue Ingrowth.

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Coulter, Fergal B 
Levey, Ruth E 
Robinson, Scott T 
Dolan, Eimear B 
Deotti, Stefano 


Medical devices, such as silicone-based prostheses designed for soft tissue implantation, often induce a suboptimal foreign-body response which results in a hardened avascular fibrotic capsule around the device, often leading to patient discomfort or implant failure. Here, it is proposed that additive manufacturing techniques can be used to deposit durable coatings with multiscale porosity on soft tissue implant surfaces to promote optimal tissue integration. Specifically, the "liquid rope coil effect", is exploited via direct ink writing, to create a controlled macro open-pore architecture, including over highly curved surfaces, while adapting atomizing spray deposition of a silicone ink to create a microporous texture. The potential to tailor the degree of tissue integration and vascularization using these fabrication techniques is demonstrated through subdermal and submuscular implantation studies in rodent and porcine models respectively, illustrating the implant coating's potential applications in both traditional soft tissue prosthetics and active drug-eluting devices.



additive manufacturing, device-tissue interaction, medical device coatings, medical grade silicone, soft tissue implants, Animals, Humans, Materials Testing, Porosity, Prostheses and Implants, Silicones, Swine

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Adv Healthc Mater

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Science Foundation Ireland (SFI/12/RC/2278)
European Union's Horizon 2020 research (713567)
H2020 Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies (645991)