Poly-4-hydroxybutyrate (P4HB) is being developed as a new absorbable material for implantable medical applications. P4HB promises to open up new opportunities for the development of medical applications by offering a new set of properties that are not currently available. The absorbable biomaterial is strong yet flexible, and degrades in vivo at least in part by a surface erosion process. While the chemical structure of P4HB is similar to that of current absorbable polyesters used in implantable medical products, P4HB is produced by a fermentation process rather than through a chemical synthesis. P4HB is a thermoplastic material that can be processed using standard plastics processing techniques, such as solution casting or melt extrusion. The strength of P4HB fibers prepared by melt extrusion compare well with that of traditional suturing materials, however, P4HB is typically more flexible. P4HB should find use in a wide variety of medical fields such as cardiovascular, wound healing...
This paper describes the development of medical applications for polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), a class of natural polymers with a wide range of thermoplastic properties. Methods are described for preparing PHAs with high purity, modifying these materials to change their surface and degradation properties, and methods for fabricating them into different forms, including tissue engineering scaffolds. Preliminary reports characterizing their in vivo behavior are given, as well as methods for using the natural polymers in tissue engineering applications.
Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs)are a class of naturally occurring polyesters that are pro- duced by a wide variety of different micro- organisms (Steinb ¸chel,1991).Although they are derived biologically,the structures of these polymers bear a fairly close resem- blance to some of the synthetic absorbable polymers currently used in medical applica- tions.Owing to their limited availability,the PHAs have remained largely unexplored,yet these polymers offer an extensive range of properties that extend far beyond those currently offered by their synthetic counter- parts.
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