Porous titanium alloy scaffold was widely used in treating bone defect caused by traumatic injury and osteomyelitis, which was incapable of self-healing. The implantation of scaffold produced stress shielding thereby forming osteolysis. The objective of this study was to analysis trabecular morphological features of osseointegrated bone. 14 New Zealand rabbits were divided into two groups, surgery group and healthy control group. 7 rabbits in surgery group were selected to perform 3D printed porous titanium alloy scaffold implantation surgery with preload at the defect of femoral condyle for osseointegration. The other 7 rabbits in control group were feed free. After 90 days healing, femoral condyles were extracted to perform micro-CT scanning with hydroxyapatite calibration phantom. Mean bone mineral density (BMD), bone volume fraction (BV/TV), BS/TV (bone surface area ratio), Tb.Th (thickness of trabeculae), Tb.N (number of trabeculae), Tb.Sp (trabecular separation) and DA (degree of anisotropy) were calculated from micro-CT images. The results revealed that osseointegration inside and at the surface of scaffolds worked well from grey values of micro-CT images. After 12 weeks healing, mean bone mineral densities (BMD) in surgery group and healthy control group were calculated as 800±20mg/cm3 and 980±90mg/cm3, respectively. This revealed that the strength of trabeculae in surgery group might lower than that in the healthy group. Trabecular morphological parameters test showed that trabecular morphological parameters at the surface of scaffolds in the surgery group deteriorated significantly. It was found from micro-CT images that ingrowth bone was filled with pores of scaffold. Overall, the effect of osseointegration was promoted through the change of mechanical micro-environment in the scaffold region. Overall, preload could improve osseointegration effect in the long-term after surgery. However, the trabecular morphology in the surgery group was deteriorated, which might bring secondary fracture risk again.
KEYWORDS: Osseointegration; 3D printed porous titanium alloy scaffold; preload; micro-CT; rabbit femoral condyle defect.