There is no long-term treatment strategy for young and active patients with cartilage
defects. Early and effective joint preserving treatments in these patients are crucial
in preventing the development of osteoarthritis. Tissue engineering over the past few
decades has presented hope in overcoming the issues involved with current treatment
strategies. Novel advances in 3D bioprinting technology have promoted more focus on
efficient delivery of engineered tissue constructs. There have been promising in-vitro
studies and several animal studies looking at 3D bioprinting of engineered cartilage tissue.
However, to date there are still no human clinical trials using 3D printed engineered
cartilage tissue. This review begins with discussion surrounding the difficulties with
articular cartilage repair and the limitations of current clinical management options which
have led to research in cartilage tissue engineering. Next, the major barriers in each
of the 4 components of cartilage tissue engineering; cells, scaffolds, chemical, and
physical stimulation will be reviewed. Strategies that may overcome these barriers will
be discussed. Finally, we will discuss the barriers surrounding intraoperative delivery of
engineered tissue constructs and possible solutions.