Polymeric Biomaterials Polymer are made by linking small molecules (mers) through primary covalent bonding in the main molecular chain backbone with C, N, O, Si, etc. Given the immense variety of polymeric chains and their interaction, a wide variety of materials is available. Some of the main uses are drug delivery functionality, micro-patterning, micro-fluidics, tissue engineering. The most important aspect of polymeric biomaterials is in the development of tissue engineering for the use in living cells, together with degradable scaffolds for the growth of tissues and growth factors in development of implantable parts or devices for the restoration of body function.
Cardiovascular System Given that every year more than 60 000 people suffer from terminal heart failure and only 2500 hearts are available for transplant, biomaterials for repair of the cardiovascular system has a big importance in the medical field. One of the most important developments in the last decade is injectable materials that repair the infarcted heart. Injection of a bioresorbable scaffold can replace the missing extracellular matrix, providing a temporary structural support and signaling the system for tissue repair. These materials are produced from alginate, a polysaccharide found in brown seaweed. Another important development is the development of fibrin sealants and glues for replacement of traditional sutures for surgical sealant in cardiovascular surgeries. ( ex. Nycomed's TachoSil FDA Aproved). The use of these cardio applications represent a an improvement in a significant volume of procedures in which the enhanced hemostasis and sealing provided by fibrin sealants can shorten procedure times, improve patient outcomes and, potentially, reduce the cost of procedures.
Biomaterials used in the osteomuscular system are developed mainly for orthopedics, in replacement, treatment, surgical procedures and/or repairing of muscles and bones.
Orthopedic surgeries for fractures normally require to hold together the bones until the healing process is complete.
Attending to this need, screws that can be biocompatible and also biodegradable over time, have been developed by the Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Applied Materials Research (IFAM) in Bremen, Germany. This screw is made of a moldable composite made of polylactic acid and hydroxylapatite, a ceramic which is the main constituent of the bone mineral. They have the advantage over traditional screws that there are holes on the bone once the healing is over and have structural properties similar to bones.
Artificial tissues are either from biologic origin, such as cows, humans, or pigs , or can be biochemically engineered. Although traditionally burn patients are those in primary demand of dermal tissue, the traditional process of grafting is