Introduction to Biomaterials

  • Joon B. Park
  • Roderic S. Lakes


In the treatment of disease or injury it has been found that a variety of nonliving materials are of use. Commonplace examples include sutures and tooth fillings. A biomaterial is a synthetic material used to replace part of a living system or to function in intimate contact with living tissue. The Clemson University Advisory Board for Biomaterials has formally defined a biomaterial to be “a systemically and pharmacologically inert substance designed for implantation within or incorporation with living systems.” By contrast, a biological material is a material such as bone matrix or tooth enamel, produced by a biological system. Artificial materials that simply are in contact with the skin, such as hearing aids and wearable artificial limbs are not biomaterials since the skin acts as a barrier with the external world. The uses of biomaterials, as indicated in Table 1-1, include replacement of a body part that has lost function due to disease or trauma, to assist in healing, to improve function, and to correct abnormalities. The role of biomaterials has been influenced considerably by advances in many areas of medicine. For example, with the advent of antibiotics, infectious disease is less of a threat than in former times, so that degenerative disease assumes a greater importance. Moreover, advances in surgical technique have permitted materials to be used in ways that were not possible previously.


Failure Mode Joint Replacement Tooth Enamel Cardiac Pacemaker Total Joint Replacement 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joon B. Park
    • 1
  • Roderic S. Lakes
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of IowaIowa CityUSA

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