Secondary Logo

Biomaterials in Sports Medicine: A Review of Clinical Applications

Barber, F. Alan MD, FACS

Sports Medicine and Arthroscopy Review: September 2015 - Volume 23 - Issue 3 - p 111
doi: 10.1097/JSA.0000000000000075

Disclosure: The author declares no conflict of interest.

Reprints: F. Alan Barber, MD, FACS, Plano Orthopedic Sports Medicine and Spine Center, 5228 West Plano Parkway, Plano, TX 75093.

Biomaterial technology has been applied to the treatment of articular cartilage defects, meniscal repairs, and the development of implants including sutures, suture anchors, and ligament fixation devices. These biomaterials vary in composition, application, and utility. This issue of Sports Medicine and Arthroscopy Review updates the reader on current developments in this field by assembling a group of articles highlighting specific products. In the arena of articular cartilage replacement many new products have been recently released but there is a lack of extensive clinical experience to report. Often, significantly different approaches are offered to address this complex concern. Although presenting detailed information on a single product or repair technique will undoubtedly interject the prospect of commercial bias, it is our hope that presenting similar articles on a variety of different products will create a comprehensive survey of what is available in the United States, mitigating this bias.

In addition to developments in articular cartilage replacement technology, new developments in the area of meniscal repair are covered. Current advances and clinical data regarding mesenchymal stem cells as they apply to postmeniscectomy meniscus growth are reviewed. In cases where regrowth of a meniscus is not possible, the use of meniscal scaffolds might be effective. The available clinical data for 2 meniscal scaffolds is reviewed, including the authors’ preferred surgical technique and postoperative rehabilitation program.

The attachment of tendons and ligaments to bone is facilitated by sutures, suture anchors, and ligament fixation devices. Biodegradable materials are commonly used for these applications. Are concerns about the potential for complications related to these devices justified? Different biodegradable materials are used for these applications. Each material has different properties and different degradation rates, and the faster this degradation the greater the inflammatory response. Yet, inflammation is a normal part of biomaterial degradation. Are these concerns borne out by good prospective data or are they simply anecdotal? This issue reviews the reported complications associated with biodegradable implants and the data supporting these clinical reports. Finally, the addition of growth factors to repair sutures could enhance the therapeutic effectiveness of soft tissue repair by providing higher levels of growth factors and cytokines to optimize the healing environment and promote tissue recovery. The current state of this technique is reviewed.

This group of articles reviews different biomaterials and will provide the reader with an update of the current state of the art in these areas. We trust you will find this beneficial.

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.