In spinal cord repair, the challenge consists in combining various therapies that account for multiple deleterious effects in order to induce an efficient recovery. In that context, biomaterial implantation seems to be highly relevant. Indeed, biomaterials not only serve as a growth support to promote sectioned axonal fibers, but are also used for cell transplantation and drug delivery. In this review, we discuss and put into perspective the recent results obtained in the field of spinal cord repair by synthetic hydrogel implantation. The versatility of those biomaterials is presented through the latest chemical strategies developed to enhance their therapeutic effects. (C) 2015 Academie des sciences. Published by Elsevier Masson SAS. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license.