Bone grafting has come a very long way since a Dutch surgeon used pieces of a dogs skull to repair a soldiers cranium in the 17th Century. Current technology aims to deliver a scaffold that combines the unique osteogenic properties of ceramic biocomposite materials to make the best mimic of physiologic conditions. To do so, a scaffold must provide: i) A three-dimensional platform allowing for osteogenic cellular attachment and growth and vascular formation, ii) Structural integrity while the damaged tissue heals, and iii) Non-toxic integration, degradation or resorption into the host over an appropriate time. The combination of inorganic, ceramic materials with cells, polymers and growth factors has come very close to creating a bone graft capable of meeting each of these requirements. Recent patents describe new methods to forming an ideal osteogenic matrix for both large and small bone repair. Many new technologies have been introduced that are very potent in their ability to heal small bone wounds and induce new bone formation, such as porous calcium phosphate pastes and hydroxyapatite cements. However, there is still a lack of quality and proven materials for load bearing purposes. This is a reminder of how much there still is to improve upon and that we are still a long way from creating bone products that are identical to the natural product. Despite these shortcomings, ceramic biocomposties represent one of the most promising materials in the bone graft field and their development and improvement will surely lead to a more natural bone replacement.
Keywords: Bioactive, bioceramic, biocomposite, ceramic, orthopedic implants, stem cell, tissue engineering, Bone Graft Mater, Endochondral Ossification, mesenchymal stem cells
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