3

Polymeric medical devices

3.1 Introduction

If one were to examine areas of great advance in the use of new materials, medical devices would surely be among the first to be noticed. One reason why polymers are now so widely used is their similarity to the natural materials from which our bodies are built. They have similar mechanical properties, and so are flexible in response to body stresses. Some polymers are inert and unreactive to body fluids, and can all be designed into products of some complexity with great ease. The body environment is highly reactive since it is in a continual state of producing energy for body functions (such as muscle movement), with many complex chemical pathways in both the fluids (such as blood) and tissues ...

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