Since this book was first published in 2002, the field of biomaterials science has developed enormously. There has been an explosion in the field, with particular emphasis on novel, biomimetic materials, including their use as scaffolds for tissue-engineered constructs.
Despite these developments, the majority of practical biomaterials used in surgery are artificial, often borrowed from other fields of technology. Although the use of monoliths of synthetic materials, such as titanium alloys or polyethylene, does not, at first sight, seem very appropriate, these materials actually behave very well inside the body. Many thousands of patients worldwide have had their lives improved considerably and even saved by these materials. These materials are the focus of this book.
Along with the growth in novel biomaterials, the years since the first edition of this book have seen substantial advances in our understanding of the behaviour of these materials within the body. This includes knowledge of how they interact with cells and what makes them biocompatible for their particular application. We also know much more about how to use them to achieve optimum outcomes.
This revised edition has been completely rewritten and updated. As well as that, an additional chapter, on ethical issues, has been included. References are updated to the end of 2019, and roughly two-thirds of them are to new research, published since the first edition of this book appeared. That is an indication of how vibrant the field is.
I want to end, as ever, by thanking my wife Suzette, for her support during the time I was preoccupied with revising this book. It is not easy living with an author chasing a deadline, and the graceful way she has done so has helped considerably in the preparation of this edition.