Hybrid 3D Printing of Advanced Hydrogel-Based Wound Dressings with Tailorable Properties

Marko Milojević, Gregor Harih, Boštjan Vihar, Jernej Vajda, Lidija Gradišnik, Tanja Zidarič, Karin Stana Kleinschek, Uroš Maver*, Tina Maver*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite the extensive utilization of polysaccharide hydrogels in regenerative medicine, current fabrication methods fail to produce mechanically stable scaffolds using only hydrogels. The recently developed hybrid extrusion-based bioprinting process promises to resolve these current issues by facilitating the simultaneous printing of stiff thermoplastic polymers and softer hydrogels at different temperatures. Using layer-by-layer deposition, mechanically advantageous scaffolds can be produced by integrating the softer hydrogel matrix into a stiffer synthetic framework. This work demonstrates the fabrication of hybrid hydrogel-thermoplastic polymer scaffolds with tunable structural and chemical properties for applications in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Through an alternating deposition of polycaprolactone and alginate/carboxymethylcellulose gel strands, scaffolds with the desired architecture (e.g., filament thickness, pore size, macro-/microporosity), and rheological characteristics (e.g., swelling capacity, degradation rate, and wettability) were prepared. The hybrid fabrication approach allows the fine-tuning of wettability (approx. 50–75 ), swelling (approx. 0–20× increased mass), degradability (approx. 2–30+ days), and mechanical strength (approx. 0.2–11 MPa) in the range between pure hydrogels and pure thermoplastic polymers, while providing a gradient of surface properties and good biocompatibility. The controlled degradability and permeability of the hydrogel component may also enable controlled drug delivery. Our work shows that the novel hybrid hydrogel-thermoplastic scaffolds with adjustable characteristics have immense potential for tissue engineering and can serve as templates for developing novel wound dressings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number564
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2021


  • 3D printing
  • Alginate
  • Carboxymethyl cellulose
  • Polycaprolactone
  • Polysaccharide-based scaffolds
  • Wound dressings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science

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