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The development of biomaterials is not a new area of science, having existed for around half a
century. The study of biomaterials is called biomaterial science. It is a provocative field of
science, having experienced steady and strong growth over its history, with many companies
investing large amounts of money into the development of new products. Biomaterial science
encompasses elements of medicine, biology, chemistry, tissue engineering and materials
science. Biomaterials in the form of implants (sutures, bone plates, joint replacements, etc.)
and medical devices (pacemakers, artificial hearts, blood tubes, ocular lenses etc.) are widely
used to replace and/or restore the function of traumatized or degenerated tissues or organs,
and thus improve the quality of life of the patients. The first and foremost requirement for the
choice of the biomaterial is its acceptability by the human body. A biomaterial used for
implant should possess some important properties in order to long-term usage in the body
without rejection. The most common classes of materials used as biomedical materials are
Metals, Polymers, Ceramics, and Composite. These four classes are used singly and in
combination to form most of the implantation devices available today. This review should be
of value to researchers who are interested in the state of the art of biomaterial evaluation and
selection of biomaterials.

Let me start by thanking God.
The preparation of this document has been a challenging and rewarding journey.
My biggest thanks goes to my advisor, Prof. T. Ashok Kumar, without whom
none of this would have been possible.

Figure 1.1. Scheme of biomedical technologies applications.


Biomaterials are those materials intended to interface with biological systems,

either to replace, reconstruct, enhance or support either tissues or tissue function.

Biomaterials have typically been metalic, ceramic and polymeric. Metalic

materials are beeing used for long for prostheses; ceramics, specially hydroxyapatite

has been used for bone reconstruction, and polymeric materials have been found to

present innumberable applications, from surgical sutures and surgical glues to contact

lenses, heart valves, etc...

For tissue engineering and regenerative medicine applications, a highly porous

biomaterial or scaffold is usually needed to guide and accommodate the cells while

promoting their function. The ideal scaffold for supporting cell attachment and growth

should meet several criteria (Holmes et al., 2000):
- present building blocks derived from biomolecules

- have basic units that are amenable to design and modification to achieve

specific needs

- present controlled rate of biodegradation and no cytotoxicity

- promote cell-substrate interactions

- elicit no immune responses and inflammation

- be easy to produce, purify and process

- be readily transportable

- present chemical compatibility with aqueous solutions and physiological

conditions, and

-be able to integrate with other materials.