First generation drug-eluting stents have considerably reduced in-stent restenosis and broadened the applications of percutaneous coronary interventions for the treatment of coronary artery disease. The polymer is an integral part of drug-eluting stents in that, it controls the release of an antiproliferative drug. The main safety concern of first generation drug-eluting stents with permanent polymers - stent thrombosis - has been caused by local hypersensitivity, delayed vessel healing, and endothelial dysfunction. This has prompted the development of newer generation drug-eluting stents with biodegradable polymers or even polymer-free drug-eluting stents. Recent clinical trials have shown the safety and efficacy of drug-eluting stents with biodegradable polymer, with proven reductions in very late stent thrombosis as compared to first generation drug-eluting stents. However, the concept of using a permanent metallic prosthesis implies major drawbacks, such as the presence of a foreign material within the native coronary artery that causes vascular inflammation and neoatherosclerosis, and also impedes the restoration of the vasomotor function of the stented segment. Bioresorbable scaffolds have been introduced to overcome these limitations, since they provide temporary scaffolding and then disappear, liberating the treated vessel from its cage. This update article presents the current status of these new technologies and highlights their future perspectives in interventional cardiology.
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