The need to shift from tissue replacement to tissue regeneration has led to the development of tissue engineering and in situ tissue regeneration. Both of these strategies often employ the use of scaffolds––templates that allow cells to attach and then guide the new tissue growth. There are many design criteria for an ideal scaffold. These criteria vary depending on the tissue type and location in the body. In any application of a scaffold it is vital to be able to characterise the scaffold before it goes into in vitro testing. In vitro testing allows the cell response to be investigated before its in vivo performance is assessed. A full characterisation of events in vitro and in vivo, in three dimensions (3D), is necessary if a scaffold’s performance and effectiveness is to be fully quantified. This paper focuses on porous scaffolds for bone regeneration, suggests appropriate design criteria for a bone regenerating scaffold and then reviews techniques for obtaining the vitally important quantification of its pore structure. The techniques discussed will include newly developed methods of quantifying X-ray microtomography (μCT) images in 3D and for predicting the scaffolds mechanical properties and the likely paths of fluid flow (and hence potential cell migration). The complications in investigating scaffold performance in vitro are then discussed. Finally, the use of μCT for imaging scaffolds for in vivo tests is reviewed.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine|
|Publication status||Published - 2009|