With the advent of additive manufacturing technologies in the mid 1980s, many applications benefited from the faster processing of products without the need for specific tooling or dies. However, the application of such techniques in the area of biomedical devices has been slow due to the stringent performance criteria and concerns related to reproducibility and part quality, when new technologies are in their infancy. However, the use of additive manufacturing technologies in bone tissue engineering has been growing in recent years. Among the different technology options, three dimensional printing (3DP) is becoming popular due to the ability to directly print porous scaffolds with designed shape, controlled chemistry and interconnected porosity. Some of these inorganic scaffolds are biodegradable and have proven ideal for bone tissue engineering, sometimes even with site specific growth factor/drug delivery abilities. This review article focuses on recent advances in 3D printed bone tissue engineering scaffolds along with current challenges and future directions.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.mattod.2013.11.017