Poly(L-lactic acid) and its copolymers with D-lactic and glycolic acid were used to fabricate various porous biodegradable scaffolds suitable for tissue engineering and drug delivery based on a thermally induced phase separation (TIPS) technique. A variety of parameters involved in TIPS process, such as types of polymers, polymer concentration, solvent/nonsolvent ratio, and quenching temperature, were examined in detail to produce a wide array of micro- and macroporous structures. A mixture of dioxane and water was used for a binary composition of solvent and nonsolvent, respectively In particular, the coarsening effect of pore enlargement affected by controlling the quenching temperature was used for the generation of a macroporous open cellular structure with pore diameters above 100 mu m. The use of amorphous polymers with a slow cooling rate resulted in a macroporous open cellular structure, whereas that of semicrystalline polymers with a fast cooling rate generated a microporous closed cellular structure. The fabricated porous devices loaded with recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) were tested for the controlled delivery of rhGH, as a potential additional means to cell delivery. (C) 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.