The use ofdegradable polymers in medicine largely started around the mid 20th
century with their initial use as in vivo
resorbing sutures. Thorough knowledge on this topic as been gained since then and the potential applications for these polymers were, and still are, rapidly expanding. After improving the properties of lactic acid-based polymers, these were no longer studied only from a scientific point of view, but also for their use in bone surgery in the 1990s. Unfortunately, after implanting these polymers, different foreign body reactions ranging from the presence of white blood cells to sterile sinuses with resorption of the original tissue were observed. This led to the misconception that degradable polymers would, in all cases, lead to inflammation and/or osteolysis at the implantation site. Nowadays, we have accumulated substantial knowledge on the issue of biocompatibility of biodegradable polymers and are able to tailor these polymers for specific applications and thereby strongly reduce the occurrence of adverse tissue reactions. However, the major issue of biofunctionality, when mechanical adaptation is taken into account, has hitherto been largely unrecognized. A thorough understanding of how to improve the biofunctionality, comprising biomechanical stability, but also visualization and sterilization of the material, together with the avoidance of fibrotic tissue formation and foreign body reactions, may greatly enhance the applicability and safety of degradable polymers in a wide area of tissue engineering applications. This review will address our current understanding of these biofunctionality factors, and will subsequently discuss the pitfalls remaining and potential solutions to solve these problems.