Methodology for performing biomechanical push-out tests for evaluating the osseointegration of calvarial defect repair in small animal models.
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Push-out tests are frequently used to evaluate the bone-implant interfacial strength of orthopedic implants, particularly dental and craniomaxillofacial applications. There currently is no standard method for performing push-out tests on calvarial models, leading to a variety of inconsistent approaches. In this study, fixtures and methods were developed to perform push-out tests in accordance with the following design objectives: (i) the system rigidly fixes the explanted calvarial sample, (ii) it minimizes lateral bending, (iii) it positions the defect accurately, and (iv) it permits verification of the coaxial alignment of the defect with the push-out rod. The fixture and method was first validated by completing push-out experiments on 30 explanted murine cranial caps and two explanted leporine cranial caps, all induced with bilateral sub-critical defects (5.0mm and 8.0mm nominal diameter for the murine and leporine models, respectively). Defects were treated with an autograft (i.e., excised tissue flap), a shape memory polymer (SMP) scaffold, or a PEEK implant. Additional validation was performed on 24 murine cranial caps induced with a single, unilateral critically-sized defect (8.0 mm nominal diameter) and treated with an autograft or a SMP scaffold.A novel fixture was developed for performing push-out mechanical tests to characterize the strength of a bone-implant interface in calvarial defect repair.The fixture uses a 3D printed vertical clamp with mating alignment component to fix the sample in place without inducing lateral bending and verify coaxial alignment of push-out rod with the defect.The fixture can be scaled to different calvarial defect geometries as validated with 5.0mm bilateral and 8.0mm single diameter murine calvarial defect model and 8.0 mm bilateral leporine calvarial defect model.