Hard tissues and organs, including the bones, teeth and cartilage, are the most extensively exploited and rapidly developed areas in regenerative medicine field. One prominent character of hard tissues and organs is that their extracellular matrices mineralize to withstand weight and pressure. Over the last two decades, a wide variety of 3D printing technologies have been adapted to hard tissue and organ engineering. These 3D printing technologies have been defined as 3D bioprinting. Especially for hard organ regeneration, a series of new theories, strategies and protocols have been proposed. Some of the technologies have been applied in medical therapies with some successes. Each of the technologies has pros and cons in hard tissue and organ engineering. In this review, we summarize the advantages and disadvantages of the historical available innovative 3D bioprinting technologies for used as special tools for hard tissue and organ engineering.
Keywords: bones; cartilage; composite materials; hard tissues and organs; mechanical properties; teeth.