English IV Ms.Spivey 10/13/2013
Polymers have revolutionized our medical world because they have saved and improved the quality of our lives when applied in medical practices. Polymers are macro molecules composed of more minuscule units called monomers. Polymers can be either synthetic or natural, such as cellulose which is a natural polymer found in plants. Research has shown that replacing natural monomers into synthetic polymers creates polymers that are biodegradable in the human body. This process creates biodegradable polymers. Biodegradable polymers, also known as biomaterials, are polymers that can biodegrade within a living organism without causing harmful effects. Biomaterials are largely utilized in medical applications that undergo degradation by the chemical breakdown of the biomaterial with the reaction of dihydrogen monoxide. This process is also known as chemical hydrolysis (Fergade).
The criterion for selecting a polymer for use as a biomaterial is to match the physical and mechanical characteristics with the time it takes the polymer to degrade. In addition, the requirements for selecting a polymer as a biomaterial are that it does not cause a harmful response in the body, it is metabolized correctly so it leaves no remnants behind, it is easily manufactured into a product, and it has a good shelf life (Fergade). A biomaterial is neither a drug nor a food. Biomaterials play a big role in medical devices that are implemented into our everyday world. Examples of these devices are contact lenses, implants, and pacemakers. Biomaterials are used in orthopedic and dental services, as well as in engineering of tissue scaffolds. (Robinson) Biomaterials are required to have three traits: biocompatibility, biodegradability, and bioresorbability. Biocompatibility is the ability of a material to react in a compatible way with the