Hybrid Process for Fabricating 3D Hierarchical Scaffolds Combining Rapid Prototyping and Electrospinning

An ideal scaffold should have good mechanical properties and provide a biologically functional implant site. A rapid prototyping system has been introduced as a good method of fabricating 3D scaffolds that mimic the structure in the human body. However, the scaffolds have strands that are too smooth and a pore size that is too large relative to the seeded cells and present unfavorable conditions for initial cell attachment. To overcome these problems, we propose a hybrid technology combining a 3D rapid prototyping system and an electrospinning process to produce a hierarchical 3D biomedical scaffold. The resulting structure consists of alternating layers of 3D‐structured/microsized polymer strands and nanofiber webs. The results of cell culturing of chondrocytes indicate that this technique is a feasible new method for fabricating high quality 3D polymeric scaffolds.