Synthetic polymer grafts have been developed with a view to better control mechanical properties of the scaffold. These include poly (ε-caprolactone) (PCL), polylactic acid (PLA), polyglycolide (PGA), poly (lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA), poly(propylene fumarate) (PPF) and polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA).
The most commonly used synthetic polymers are PCL, PLA, PGA, and PLGA as they are both mechanically stable and resorbable. However, their degradation products are often acidic which causes undesirable changes in pH and negatively affects bone development (2).
Foreign body materials with high loading tolerances
Manufactured implants, particularly those that are patient specific, are often made from titanium which is non-degradable or synthetic polymer materials that exhibit slow degradation rates. These are foreign body materials that don’t behave like organic matter like biomaterials, and are associated with high complication rates, namely infection. Unlike biomaterial-based implants that support strong bone ingrowth, implants made from plastic or metal are permanent. However, they demonstrate favorable load-bearing properties that are required for some bone implants where the stability of the bone is affected.
One of the most widely used synthetic materials, polyetheretherketone (PEEK), has the favorable properties of being biocompatible, resistant to thermal and ionizing radiation, and resembles cortical bone biomechanically. Additionally, it is suitable for load-bearing implants in reconstructive surgeries. In consequence, PEEK has proved useful in complex reconstructions of maxillofacial and cranial defects.