Highly open porous biodegradable poly(L-lactic acid) [PLLA] scaffolds for tissue regeneration were fabricated by using ammonium bicarbonate as an efficient gas foaming agent as well as a particulate porogen salt. A binary mixture of PLLA-solvent gel containing dispersed ammonium bicarbonate salt particles, which became a paste state, was cast in a mold and subsequently immersed in a hot water solution to permit the evolution of ammonia and carbon dioxide within the solidifying polymer matrix. This resulted in the expansion of pores within the polymer matrix to a great extent, leading to well interconnected macroporous scaffolds having mean pore diameters of around 300-400 mu m, ideal for high-density cell seeding. Rat hepatocytes seeded into the scaffolds exhibited about 95% seeding efficiency and up to 40% viability at 1 day after the seeding. The novelty of this new method is that the PLLA paste containing ammonium bicarbonate salt particles can be easily handled and molded into any shape, allowing for fabricating a wide range of temporal tissue scaffolds requiring a specific shape and geometry. (C) 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.