Characteristics of Biodegradable Implants


The development of synthetic biomaterials for bone fixations has greatly enhanced orthopedic surgery efficiency over the last two decades. With the advancement in medical technology, several materials such as metals, ceramics, polymers and composites have been considered over the years for possible implantation into the body. These materials however, must have the following required properties that will qualify them as potential medical devices: biocompatibility, mechanical properties, corrosion resistance, creep resistance, etc. The quest in making up for the disadvantages of metallic fixations has culminated in a paradigm shift to the use of biodegradable polymers. Biodegradable polymers are light-weight materials with low elastic moduli between 0.4 - 7 GPa. These materials can be engineered to degrade at rates that will slowly transfer load to the bone. In addition, complications like corrosion, release of metal ions and stress shielding associated with metal implants are eliminated. This review considers studies carried out on most commonly investigated and widely used synthetic biodegradable polymers, their successes and limitations. It also provides process for efficient utilization of these polymers as bone fixtures without inflammation and stress shielding.

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Adeosun, S. , Lawal, G. and Gbenebor, O. (2014) Characteristics of Biodegradable Implants. Journal of Minerals and Materials Characterization and Engineering, 2, 88-106. doi: 10.4236/jmmce.2014.22013.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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