Tissue engineering encompasses a multidisciplinary approach geared toward the development of biological substitutes designed to restore and maintain normal function in diseased or injured tissues. This article reviews the basic technology that is used to generate implantable tissue-engineered grafts in vitro that will exhibit characteristics in vivo consistent with the physiology and function of the equivalent healthy tissue. We also examine the current trends in tissue engineering designed to tailor scaffold construction, promote angiogenesis and identify an optimal seeded cell source. Finally, we describe several currently applied therapeutic modalities that use a tissue-engineered construct. While notable progress has clearly been demonstrated in this emerging field, these efforts have not yet translated into widespread clinical applicability. With continued development and innovation, there is optimism that the tremendous potential of this field will be realized.