Fractals in tissue engineering: toward biomimetic cell-culture matrices, microsystems and microstructured implants

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Abstract

Tissue engineering is a rapidly evolving field in which the complexity of biomaterials and biostructures, with typically non-Euclidean or fractal-like geometries, has to be adequately taken into account for the promotion of enhanced and even personalized diagnostic and therapeutic solutions. This study covers the main applications of fractals in the field of tissue engineering, including their advantages for modeling biological processes and cell-culture procedures, but specially focusing on their benefits for describing the complex geometries and structures of biomaterials (both natural and synthetic), many of which have potential uses for the development of cell culture microsystems, scaffolds for tissue repair and implants for tissue repair in general. We also explore the main supporting design, simulation and manufacturing technologies, as well as the most remarkable difficulties and limitations linked to the generalized use of fractals in engineering design, and also detail some current solution proposals and future directions.

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