AbstractThe ability of polymers to be degraded in physiological environments makes them interesting candidates for various medical applications. Degradation and metabolisation or excretion of polymeric implants can avoid a second surgery for the removal of an implant. They follow a distinct pathway for degradation, depending on their structure. Biodegradable materials can serve as a temporary substitute of the extracellular matrix or as matrix in controlled drug release systems, which both can be utilized in Regenerative Therapies.
This chapter gives an overview about polymeric materials established in clinical use such as polyesters, polyurethanes, polyanhydrides, or carbohydrates. It describes further their synthesis and exemplary applications such as surgical sutures. Finally the importance of a continuing development of novel materials for future applications is pointed out, since the number of potential applications in the medical field is expanding rapidly.