The continuous development of new biomaterials for tissue engineering and the enhancement of tissue ingrowth into existing scaffolds, using growth factors, create the necessity for developing adequate tools to assess tissue ingrowth rates into porous biomaterials. Current histomorphometric techniques evaluating rates of tissue ingrowth tend either to measure the overall tissue content in an entire sample or to depend on the user to indicate a front of tissue ingrowth. Neither method is particularly suitable for the assessment of tissue ingrowth rates, as these methods either lack the sensitivity required or are problematic when there is a tissue ingrowth gradient rather than an obvious tissue ingrowth front. This study describes a histomorphometric method that requires little observer input, is sensitive, and renders detailed information for the assessment of tissue ingrowth rates into porous biomaterials. This is achieved by examining a number of computer-defined concentric zones, which are based on the distance of a pixel from the scaffold edge. Each zone is automatically analyzed for tissue content, eliminating the need for user definition of a tissue ingrowth front and thus reducing errors and observer dependence. Tissue ingrowth rates in two biodegradable
polyurethane scaffolds (Estane and polycaprolactone–polyurethane [PCLPU]) specifically designed for tissue engineering of the knee meniscus were assessed. Samples were subcutaneously implanted in rats with follow-up until 6 months. Especially at the earlier follow-up points, PCLPU scaffolds showed significantly higher tissue ingrowth rates than Estane scaffolds, making the PCLPU scaffold a promising candidate for further studies investigating meniscus tissue engineering.