Refereed review article in scientific journal (A2)

Biodegradable biomaterials in orthopedic surgery: A narrative review of the current evidence

List of AuthorsRaitio Arimatias, Saarinen Antti J, Sinikumpu Juha-Jaakko, Helenius Ilkka

Publication year2023

JournalScandinavian Journal of Surgery

Journal name in sourceScandinavian journal of surgery : SJS : official organ for the Finnish Surgical Society and the Scandinavian Surgical Society

Journal acronymScand J Surg




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Background: Biomaterials are routinely used in orthopedic surgery to fill bone defects, improve bone healing, and as degradable fixation material. A wide range of materials are currently in use, and the materials are chosen according to their bioactive properties. Osteoinductive materials stimulate bone healing by promoting osteogenesis. Osteoconductive materials facilitate bone growth on the surface of the material. Despite the many materials in use and an increasing number of published studies, randomized controlled trials on the subject are scarce.

Methods: This review aims to summarize the history of biodegradable biomaterials and also the published level I evidence currently available on orthopedic biomaterials.

Results: Most of the studies have been superiority trials with non-significant differences compared to conventional treatment options, confirming that several biomaterials are suitable treatment options for multiple indications including bone and/or tendon fixation, filling bone defects, and spinal fusion. Biomaterials help to avoid donor site complications associated with autogenous bone grafts and often eliminate the need for implant removal. However, the surgical technique may in some cases be more demanding than with conventional methods. Careful consideration of the pros and cons is therefore recommended in clinical practice.

Conclusion: Biodegradable biomaterials complement the range of available treatment options in several fields of orthopedic surgery. However, some biomaterials performed worse than expected and were not recommended for clinical use, emphasizing the need for high-quality randomized trials. It is also noteworthy that several trials included only a limited number of patients, rendering the interpretation of the results of these underpowered studies challenging.

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Last updated on 2023-11-12 at 15:56