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Update on Biomaterials.

Anderson PA, Giori NJ, Lavernia CJ, Villa JM, Greenwald AS. Update on Biomaterials. Instructional course lectures. 2016 Jan 1; 65:449-65.

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Biomaterials are essential to the use and development of successful treatments for orthopaedic patients. Orthopaedic surgeons need to understand the expected clinical performance and the effects of implants in patients. Recent attempts to improve implant durability have resulted in adverse effects related to biomaterials and their relationship to patients. Examples of these adverse effects in hip arthroplasty include wear and corrosion of metal-on-metal bearings, trunnions, and tapered modular neck junctions. Conversely, polymers and ceramics have shown substantial improvements in durability. Improved implant compositions and manufacturing processes have resulted in ceramic head and acetabular liners with improved material properties and the avoidance of voids, which have, in the past, caused catastrophic fractures. Cross-linking of polyethylene with radiation and doping with antioxidants has substantially increased implant durability and is increasingly being used in joint prostheses other than the hip. Additive manufacturing is potentially a transformative process; it can lead to custom and patient-specific implants and to improvements in material properties, which can be optimized to achieve desired bone responses. Orthopaedic surgeons must understand the material properties and the biologic effects of new or altered biomaterials and manufacturing processes before use. In addition, a clear benefit to the patient must be proven based on superior preclinical results and high-quality clinical investigations before orthopaedic surgeons use new or altered biomaterials.

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