I am a mechanical engineer with little biological experience, but I have recently been looking at tissue scaffoldings.
My current understanding is as follows, but may be flawed. I would appreciate any feedback: The purpose of tissue scaffolding is to provide a structure where there is none, and to facilitate healing. The tissue scaffolding is typically porous because it must facilitate the transport of cells during the inflammatory phase of healing, while the scaffold also later provides an interface and structure for the growth of new cells. It can essentially replace extracellular matrix.
I understand that these scaffolds need to be made of inert material so that there are no reactions with the body. But I know that some tissue scaffolds are meant to be biodegradable, so that once stronger extracellular matrix is established, the body can go back to doing its job. But, arent biodegradability and inertness mutually exclusive?
I also understand that a major issue with tissue scaffoldings is the compatability of specific scaffold materials with corresponding tissues, and that there are issues with adherence, etc.
I was hoping to gather some more insight as to what types of challenges tissue scaffolds typically encounter, how they are dealt with, and why? I'm also in scaffolding materials' use to deliver drugs, but that may be an issue to discuss on another day.