Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2009, 10(9), 4033-4065; doi:10.3390/ijms10094033

Degradability of Polymers for Implantable Biomedical Devices

Received: 5 August 2009; in revised form: 4 September 2009 / Accepted: 7 September 2009 / Published: 11 September 2009
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract: Many key components of implantable medical devices are made from polymeric materials. The functions of these materials include structural support, electrical insulation, protection of other materials from the environment of the body, and biocompatibility, as well as other things such as delivery of a therapeutic drug. In such roles, the stability and integrity of the polymer, over what can be a very long period of time, is very important. For most of these functions, stability over time is desired, but in other cases, the opposite–the degradation and disappearance of the polymer over time is required. In either case, it is important to understand both the chemistry that can lead to the degradation of polymers as well as the kinetics that controls these reactions. Hydrolysis and oxidation are the two classes of reactions that lead to the breaking down of polymers. Both are discussed in detail in the context of the environmental factors that impact the utility of various polymers for medical device applications. Understanding the chemistry and kinetics allows prediction of stability as well as explanations for observations such as porosity and the unexpected behavior of polymeric composite materials in some situations. In the last part, physical degradation such interfacial delamination in composites is discussed.
Keywords: biostable polymers for implantable medical devices; biodegradable polymers; molecular mechanisms of hydrolysis; biological oxidation; physical biodegradation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Lyu, S.; Untereker, D. Degradability of Polymers for Implantable Biomedical Devices. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2009, 10, 4033-4065.

AMA Style

Lyu S, Untereker D. Degradability of Polymers for Implantable Biomedical Devices. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2009; 10(9):4033-4065.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Lyu, SuPing; Untereker, Darrel. 2009. "Degradability of Polymers for Implantable Biomedical Devices." Int. J. Mol. Sci. 10, no. 9: 4033-4065.

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