Background: Functional groups have played a fundamental role in synthesis of polymers due to
they decide about polymerization methods, and influence on their topologies, properties and applications. The
functional polymers are used as a high-performance materials with well-adjusted properties by modification of
functionalities that can be addressed selectively to a variety of applications, usually in biomedical field.
Objective: In this minireview article hydroxy-functionalized polymers, mostly based on 2-hydroxyethyl
methacrylate (HEMA) or 2-hydroxyethyl acrylate (HEA), are discussed as products of the controlled polymerizations
and as substrates in the functionalization reactions.
Conclusion: The hydroxyl group gives opportunity for prepolymerization reactions, including protection
group and macromonomer preparation. Multifunctional (co)polymers of HEMA/HEA contain reactive hydroxyl
groups, which are directly accessible or caring suitable protective groups that can be removed or/and
modified by post-polymerization reactions. The variation of approaches let to obtain functional polymers with
linear, star-shape and graft topologies as the well-defined structures for the advanced functional materials, including
smart polymeric devices.