Applications of X-ray computed tomography for the evaluation of biomaterial mediated bone regeneration in critical sized defects

Marta Pena Fernández, Frank Witte, Gianluca Tozzi

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Bone as such displays an intrinsic regenerative potential following fracture; however, this capacity is limited with large bone defects that cannot heal spontaneously. The management of critical-sized bone defects remains a major clinical and socioeconomic need with osteoregenerative biomaterials constantly under development aiming at promoting and enhancing bone healing. X-ray computed tomography (XCT) has become a standard and essential tool for quantifying structure-function relationships in bone and biomaterials, facilitating the development of novel bone tissue engineering strategies. This paper presents recent advancements in XCT analysis of biomaterial-mediated bone regeneration. As a non-invasive and non-destructive technique, XCT allows for qualitative and quantitative evaluation of three-dimensional (3D) scaffolds and biomaterial microarchitecture, bone growth into the scaffold as well as the 3D characterisation of biomaterial degradation and bone regeneration in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, in combination with in situ mechanical testing and digital volume correlation (DVC), XCT demonstrated its potential to better understand the bone-biomaterial interactions and local mechanics of bone regeneration during the healing process in relation to the regeneration achieved in vivo, which will likely provide valuable knowledge for the development and optimisation of novel osteoregenerative biomaterials.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Microscopy
Early online date7 Nov 2019
Publication statusEarly online - 7 Nov 2019


  • biomaterials
  • bone
  • digital volume correlation
  • in situ mechanics
  • osteoregeneration
  • X-ray computed tomography


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