In the last few decades, as an understanding of polymers grew, their applications in
healthcare gained prominence. However, their widespread use was limited due to inevitable ageing,
unavoidable degradation and excessive wear and tear. In order to overcome this drawback, researchers
took inspiration from the capability of the human body to heal itself. Scientific curiosity and
focussed efforts in this direction have laid the foundation for the successful conceptualization of selfhealing
polymeric biomaterials and their commercial utilization for ancillary purposes. This review
familiarizes the readers with recent literature in self-healing polymers, their fabrication techniques as
well as applications in medical and pharmaceutical arenas. It is heartening to note that these polymeric
materials have overcome the disadvantages of conventional polymers and shown immense promise
in breakthrough technologies such as tissue engineering, anti-biofouling as well as 3D and 4D printing.
Self-healing polymers are poised to become critical supporting biomaterials in traditional disciplines
such as orthopaedics, dentistry and pharmaceutical drug delivery. Efforts are on to design novel
self-healing materials that meet the regulatory requirements of safety and biocompatibility. Research
trends indicate that self-healing polymers may play a pivotal supporting role in furthering advances
in therapeutics. The authors have, through this review, attempted to spark interest and stimulate
creative minds to work in this domain.
Keywords: 4D printing, anti-fouling, bioink, glass ionomer cement, hyaluronic acid, polycaprolactone, scaffolds, self-healing
hydrogel, superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles.
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