3D Printable Hydrogel with Tunable Degradability and Mechanical Properties as a Tissue Scaffold for Pelvic Organ Prolapse Treatment

Yuxiang Zhu, Tina Kwok, Joel C. Haug, Shenghan Guo, Xiangfan Chen, Weiheng Xu, Dharneedar Ravichandran, Yourka D. Tchoukalova, Jeffrey L. Cornella, Johnny Yi, Orit Shefi, Brent L. Vernon, David G. Lott, Jessica N. Lancaster, Kenan Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) is a dysfunction that affects a large proportion of women. Current support scaffolds’ lack of biocompatibility, biodegradability, and mechanical compliance are associated with surgical complications including erosion and pain, indicating the urgent need for new tissue scaffolds with customizable functions. A new material that uses polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) as the main ingredient and is chemically tuned to possess suitable mechanical properties and degradation rates for the surgical treatment of POP is developed. Specifically, the thiol-norbornene “click” chemistry enables the sol-gel transition of the biomaterial under UV-light without side-products. Meanwhile, NaOH treatment further toughens the hydrogel with a higher crosslink density. The PVA-based biocompatible ink can be printed with UV-facilitated direct ink writing due to the rapidly UV-initiated chemical crosslink; in situ image analysis and machine learning methods are applied during this procedure to quantify and improve the printing quality. The cell viability results demonstrate the biocompatibility of the POP scaffolds, suggesting the potential for future animal studies and the possibility of clinical research. This study bridges polymer chemistry and manufacturing engineering with a specific tissue engineering application to solve the common disorder of POP, shedding light on individualized medicine and intelligent systems for biomedical engineering.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2201421
JournalAdvanced Materials Technologies
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 25 2023


  • biocompatibility
  • biodegradability
  • direct ink writing
  • image analysis
  • machine learning
  • pelvic organ prolapse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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