Background: Statistical reports show that every year around the world approximately 15 million bone fractures occur; of which up to 10% fail to heal completely and hence lead to complications of non-union healing. In the past, autografts or allografts were used as the "gold standard" of treating such defects. However, due to various limitations and risks associated with these sources of bone grafts, other avenues have been extensively investigated through which bone tissue engineering; in particular engineering of synthetic bone graft substitutes, has been recognised as a promising alternative to the traditional methods.
Methods: A selective literature search was performed.
Results: Bone tissue engineering offers unlimited supply, eliminated risk of disease transmission and relatively low cost. It could also lead to patient specific design and manufacture of implants, prosthesis and bone related devices. A potentially promising building block for a suitable scaffold is synthetic nanohydroxyapatite incorporated into synthetic polymers. Incorporation of nanohydroxyapatite into synthetic polymers has shown promising bioactivity, osteoconductivity, mechanical properties and degradation profile compared to other techniques previously considered.
Conclusion: Scientific research, through extensive physiochemical characterisation, in vitro and in vivo assessment has brought together the optimum characteristics of nanohydroxyapatite and various types of synthetic polymers in order to develop nanocomposites of suitable nature for bone tissue engineering. The aim of the present article is to review and update various aspects involved in incorporation of synthetic nanohydroxyapatite into synthetic polymers, in terms of their potentials to promote bone growth and regeneration in vitro, in vivo and consequently in clinical applications.
- bone tissue engineering
- mechanical properties
- synthetic polymers