An overview of the current state of tissue engineering material systems used in bone healing is presented. A variety of fabrication processes have been developed that have resulted in porous implant substrates that can address unresolved clinical problems. The merits of these biomaterial systems are evaluated in the context of the mechanical properties and biomedical performances most suitable for bone healing. An optimal scaffold for bone tissue engineering applications should be biocompatible and act as a 3D template for in vitro and in vivo bone growth; in addition, its degradation products should be non-toxic and easily excreted by the body. To achieve these features, scaffolds must consist of an interconnected porous network of micro- and nanoscale to allow extensive body fluid transport through the pores, which will trigger bone ingrowth, cell migration, tissue ingrowth, and eventually vascularization. © 2007.