Tissue engineering of orthopedic tissues is expanding rapidly, leading to important interdisciplinary collaborations between cellular and molecular biology, biomaterials, implants, and engineering of absorbable polymers as well as specialized biotechnologic fields. Bone formation is explored using hierarchical porous osteoinducing and osteconducting materials made of resorbable organic or inorganic materials. Cartilage, ligament, and tendon regeneration is focusing on the use of isolated chondrocytic cells seeded or encapsulated within artificial extracellular matrices, three-dimensional cell cultures, and tissue-equivalent culture and retransplantation. The development of optimal biabsorbable scaffolding materials, a key step for the engineering of tissues, must be customized to the targeted tissue: biocompatible, porous, shaped, three-dimensional, tissue-inducing, -guiding, or -conducting materials and structures must have adequate surface chemical, physical, and electrical properties; optimal compositional, microstructural, porosimetric, and architectural characteristics; and compatible biodegradation and elimination rates. Combining scaffolding functions and controlled delivering actions is also viewed as improving the management of tissue regeneration processes.
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