Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Characterisation of the surface structure of 3D printed scaffolds for cell infiltration and surgical suturing

Ruiz-Cantu, Laura; Gleadall, Andrew; Faris, Callum; Segal, Joel; Shakesheff, Kevin; Yang, Jing


Laura Ruiz-Cantu

Andrew Gleadall

Callum Faris

Profile Image

Associate Professor

Kevin Shakesheff

Profile Image

Assistant Professor


© 2016 IOP Publishing Ltd. 3D printing is of great interest for tissue engineering scaffolds due to the ability to form complex geometries and control internal structures, including porosity and pore size. The porous structure of scaffolds plays an important role in cell ingrowth and nutrition infusion. Although the internal porosity and pore size of 3D printed scaffolds have been frequently studied, the surface porosity and pore size, which are critical for cell infiltration and mass transport, have not been investigated. The surface geometry can differ considerably from the internal scaffold structure depending on the 3D printing process. It is vital to be able to control the surface geometry of scaffolds as well as the internal structure to fabricate optimal architectures. This work presents a method to control the surface porosity and pore size of 3D printed scaffolds. Six scaffold designs have been printed with surface porosities ranging from 3% to 21%. We have characterised the overall scaffold porosity and surface porosity using optical microscopy and microCT. It has been found that surface porosity has a significant impact on cell infiltration and proliferation. In addition, the porosity of the surface has been found to have an effect on mechanical properties and on the forces required to penetrate the scaffold with a surgical suturing needle. To the authors' knowledge, this study is the first to investigate the surface geometry of extrusion-based 3D printed scaffolds and demonstrates the importance of surface geometry in cell infiltration and clinical manipulation.


Ruiz-Cantu, L., Gleadall, A., Faris, C., Segal, J., Shakesheff, K., & Yang, J. (2016). Characterisation of the surface structure of 3D printed scaffolds for cell infiltration and surgical suturing. Biofabrication, 8(1), Article 015016.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 4, 2016
Online Publication Date Feb 22, 2016
Publication Date Feb 22, 2016
Deposit Date Oct 14, 2016
Publicly Available Date Oct 14, 2016
Journal Biofabrication
Print ISSN 1758-5082
Electronic ISSN 1758-5090
Publisher IOP Publishing
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 1
Article Number 015016
Keywords 3D printing, surface porosity, cell infiltration, surgical suturing, tissue engineeering
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an author-created, un-copyedited version of an article accepted for publication/published in Biofabrication. IOP Publishing Ltd is not responsible for any errors or omissions in this version of the manuscript or any version derived from it. The Version of Record is available online at 10.1088/1758-5090/8/1/015016.


You might also like

Downloadable Citations