Rabbit Calvarial Defect Model for Customized 3D-Printed Bone Grafts

Kang Gon Lee, Kang Sik Lee, Yu Jeoung Kang, Jong Hyun Hwang, Se Hwan Lee, Sang Hyug Park, Yongdoo Park, Young Sam Cho, Bu Kyu Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Bone graft materials are commonly used to regenerate various bone defects, but their application is often limited because of the complex defect shape in various clinical conditions. Hence, customized bone grafts using three-dimensional (3D) printing techniques have been developed. However, conventional simple bone defect models are limited for evaluating the benefits and manufacturing accuracy of 3D-printed customized bone grafts. Thus, the aim of the present study was to develop a complex-shaped bone defect model. We designed an 8-shaped bony defect that consists of two simple circles attached to the rabbit calvarium. To determine the critical-sized defect (CSD) of the 8-shaped defects, 5.6- and 7-mm-diameter trephine burs were tested, and the 7-mm-diameter bur could successfully create a CSD, which was easily reproducible on the rabbit calvarium. The rate of new bone formation was 28.65% ± 8.63% at 16 weeks following creation of the defect. To confirm its efficacy for clinical use, the 8-shaped defect was created on a rabbit calvarium and 3D computed tomography (CT) was performed. A stereolithography file was produced using the CT data, and a 3D-printed polycaprolactone graft was fabricated. Using our 8-shaped defect model, we were able to modify the tolerances of the bone graft and calvarial defect to fabricate a more precise bone graft. Customized characteristics of the bone graft were then used to improve the accuracy of the bone graft. In addition, we confirmed the fitting ability of the 3D-printed graft during implantation of the graft. Our 8-shaped defect model on the rabbit calvarium using a 7.0-mm trephine bur may be a useful CSD model for evaluating 3D-printed graft materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-262
Number of pages8
JournalTissue Engineering - Part C: Methods
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2018 May

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The license of the Mimics program used to convert the CT images to 3D images was obtained with the help of Professor Shim Jin-Hyung of Korea Polytechnic University (KPU). We thank the Laboratory of Animal Research core facility at the ConveRgence MEDIcine Research CenTer (CREDIT), Asan Medical Center for support and instrumentation. This research was supported by a grant from the Korea Health Technology R&D Project through the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI), funded by the Ministry of Health & Welfare, Republic of Korea (grant number: HI14C2143).

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2018, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.


  • 3D printing
  • animal defect model
  • customized bone graft
  • polycaprolactone
  • rabbit calvaria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomedical Engineering


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