A review of rapid prototyping techniques for tissue engineering purposes.Ann Med. 2008; 40(4):268-80.AM
Rapid prototyping (RP) is a common name for several techniques, which read in data from computer-aided design (CAD) drawings and manufacture automatically three-dimensional objects layer-by-layer according to the virtual design. The utilization of RP in tissue engineering enables the production of three-dimensional scaffolds with complex geometries and very fine structures. Adding micro- and nanometer details into the scaffolds improves the mechanical properties of the scaffold and ensures better cell adhesion to the scaffold surface. Thus, tissue engineering constructs can be customized according to the data acquired from the medical scans to match the each patient's individual needs. In addition RP enables the control of the scaffold porosity making it possible to fabricate applications with desired structural integrity. Unfortunately, every RP process has its own unique disadvantages in building tissue engineering scaffolds. Hence, the future research should be focused on the development of RP machines designed specifically for fabrication of tissue engineering scaffolds, although RP methods already can serve as a link between tissue and engineering.