We present a simple and highly versatile protocol for polymer ablation: hard x-ray irradiation makes it possible to rapidly depolymerize hyaluronan hydrogels and fabricate three-dimensional network of microchannels. Photodynamic and photochemical analyses show that x-ray irradiation directly cleaves the polymer backbone and the total dose controls the degradation kinetics. This nonthermal ablation protocol may offer opportunities for processing organic polymers and biological materials.