Nowadays, bioactive glasses (BGs) are mainly used to improve and support the healing process of osseous defects deriving from traumatic events, tumor removal, congenital pathologies, implant revisions, or infections. In the past, several approaches have been proposed in the replacement of extensive bone defects, each one with its own advantages and drawbacks. As a result, the need for synthetic bone grafts is still a remarkable clinical challenge since more than 1 million bone-graft surgical operations are annually performed worldwide. Moreover, recent studies show the effectiveness of BGs in the regeneration of soft tissues, too. Often, surgical criteria do not match the engineering ones and, thus, a compromise is required for getting closer to an ideal outcome in terms of good regeneration, mechanical support, and biocompatibility in contact with living tissues. The aim of the present review is providing a general overview of BGs, with particular reference to their use in clinics over the last decades and the latest synthesis/processing methods. Recent advances in the use of BGs in tissue engineering are outlined, where the use of porous scaffolds is gaining growing importance thanks to the new possibilities given by technological progress extended to both manufacturing processes and functionalization techniques.
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