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Metallic Scaffolds for Bone Regeneration
Materials 2009, 2(3), 833-856; doi:10.3390/ma2030833

Biodegradable Polymers in Bone Tissue Engineering

1 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands 2 Department of Oral Cell Biology, Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam (ACTA), Universiteit van Amsterdam and Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands 3 MOVE/Skeletal Tissue Engineering Group Amsterdam (STEGA), Amsterdam, The Netherlands 4 Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Polymer Technology, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 July 2009 / Revised: 21 July 2009 / Accepted: 24 July 2009 / Published: 24 July 2009
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biocompatibility of Materials)
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The use ofdegradable polymers in medicine largely started around the mid 20th century with their initial use as in vivo resorbing sutures. Thorough knowledge on this topic as been gained since then and the potential applications for these polymers were, and still are, rapidly expanding. After improving the properties of lactic acid-based polymers, these were no longer studied only from a scientific point of view, but also for their use in bone surgery in the 1990s. Unfortunately, after implanting these polymers, different foreign body reactions ranging from the presence of white blood cells to sterile sinuses with resorption of the original tissue were observed. This led to the misconception that degradable polymers would, in all cases, lead to inflammation and/or osteolysis at the implantation site. Nowadays, we have accumulated substantial knowledge on the issue of biocompatibility of biodegradable polymers and are able to tailor these polymers for specific applications and thereby strongly reduce the occurrence of adverse tissue reactions. However, the major issue of biofunctionality, when mechanical adaptation is taken into account, has hitherto been largely unrecognized. A thorough understanding of how to improve the biofunctionality, comprising biomechanical stability, but also visualization and sterilization of the material, together with the avoidance of fibrotic tissue formation and foreign body reactions, may greatly enhance the applicability and safety of degradable polymers in a wide area of tissue engineering applications. This review will address our current understanding of these biofunctionality factors, and will subsequently discuss the pitfalls remaining and potential solutions to solve these problems.
Keywords: degradable polymer; tissue engineering; mechanical loading degradable polymer; tissue engineering; mechanical loading
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Kroeze, R.J.; Helder, M.N.; Govaert, L.E.; Smit, T.H. Biodegradable Polymers in Bone Tissue Engineering. Materials 2009, 2, 833-856.

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