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Keywords:

  • biodegradable polymers;
  • tissue engineering;
  • porous scaffolds

Abstract

This study developed a solvent merging/par- ticulate leaching method for preparing three-dimensional porous scaffolds. Poly(L-lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) and sodium chloride particles were dry-mixed and cast into a special mold, through which a liquid could pass due to a pressure difference. An organic solvent was then poured into the mold to dissolve and merge the PLGA particles under negative pressure. A nonsolvent was conducted into the PLGA/salt composite to solidify and precipitate the merged PLGA matrix. Finally, a large amount of water was passed through the mold to leach out the salt particles so as to create a porous structure. The results revealed that a highly porous three-dimensional scaffold (>85 vol %) with a well interconnected porous structure could be achieved by this process. Porosity and the pore size of the scaffold were controlled using the ratio and the particle size of the added salt particles. A larger-volume scaffold was produced using a larger mold. This work provides a continuous and simple procedure for fabricating a bulk three-dimensional porous scaffold for tissue engineering. © 2001 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res 59: 676–681, 2002