Back pain caused by intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration is one of the most frequently reported age- and work-related disorder in actual society, which present a huge socio-economic impact in industrialized European countries . Recently, there is a growing interest in the potential of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine approaches aimed to regenerate the damaged IVD and restore full disc function . Recent research directions are addressing IVD substitution/regeneration using total custom-made implants which adequately mimic the native IVD . The present study aims to develop a methodology for producing patient-specific scaffolds that mimic the annulus fibrosus (AF) of the human IVD by using reverse engineering, i.e. combining magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and 3D bioprinting. An advanced segmentation software, i.e. RheumaSCORE, was used to obtain the AF 3D model from patient’s volumetric MRI dataset. Polycaprolactone scaffolds with three different lattice architectures were produced by 3D bioprinting. The effect of the internal architecture on the morphological features of the scaffolds was evaluated by micro-computed tomography (micro-CT). The present work guide us towards patient-specific IVD tissue engineering as demonstrated a methodology of a geometry reconstruction pipeline that enabled to obtain a precise AF model and manufacture personalized scaffolds using patient’s MRI data.
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