The progress in orthopedic surgery is mutually connected with advances in material engineering, from biologically inert materials of early sixties, to the present-day biomaterials with preprogrammed bioactivity and predictable tissue response.
In contemporary bone surgery, however, the main trend is to replace, not restore damaged tissues. The greatest promise from emerging technologies of tissue engineering is to facilitate restoration of destroyed bone, cartilage, tendons and ligaments with implants containing living cells. To fulfill these promises different materials for cell growth, with different mechanical and biological properties are needed. Additionally there is need for controlled biodegradation of implanted materials, from weeks in soft tissue to months in bone reconstructive surgery.
For clinical applications in humans close collaboration of clinicians, engineers and specialists in cell biology is crucial.
This work was supported by the State Committee of Scientific Research (grant No. 05/PBZ-KBN-082/2002/06).