Biodegradable scaffolds have played an important role in a number of tissue engineering attempts over the past decade. The goal of this review article is to provide a brief overview of some of the important issues related to scaffolds fabricated from synthetic biodegradable polymers. Various types of such materials are available; some are commercialized and others are still in the laboratories. The properties of the most common of these polymers are discussed here. A variety of fabrication techniques were developed to fashion polymeric materials into porous scaffolds, and a selection of these is presented. The very important issue of scaffold architecture, including the topic of porosity and permeability, is discussed. Other areas such as cell growth on scaffolds, surface modification, scaffold mechanics, and the release of growths factors are also reviewed. A summary outlining the common themes in scaffold-related science that are found in the literature is presented.
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