PEEK biomaterials in trauma, orthopedic, and spinal implants.

    • Reference:
    • Kurtz SM, Devine JN. PEEK biomaterials in trauma, orthopedic, and spinal implants. Biomaterials 2007;28(32):4845-4869.
    • Keywords:
    • PEEK, PAEK, Ultrapek, polyaryletherketone, polyetherketone, polyetheretherketone, composites, carbon fiber, wear, hip resurfacing, spine, fracture fixation, mechanical behavior, physical properties, tribology, biocompatibility, review
    • Permissions:
    • This preprint version of the manuscript is being made publicly available at with permission of Elsevier. The final published version of this article can be accessed from Biomaterials.

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Since the 1980s, polyaryletherketones (PAEKs) have been increasingly employed as biomaterials for trauma, orthopedic, and spinal implants. We have synthesized the extensive polymer science literature as it relates to structure, mechanical properties, and chemical resistance of PAEK biomaterials. With this foundation, one can more readily appreciate why this family of polymers will be inherently strong, inert, and biocompatible. Due to its relative inertness, PEEK biomaterials are an attractive platform upon which to develop novel bioactive materials, and some steps have already been taken in that direction, with the blending of HA and TCP into sintered PEEK. However, to date, blended HA-PEEK composites have involved a trade-off in mechanical properties in exchange for their increased bioactivity. PEEK has had the greatest clinical impact in the field of spine implant design, and is now broadly accepted as a radiolucent alternative to metallic biomaterials in the spine community. For mature fields, such as total joint replacements and fracture fixation implants, radiolucency is an attractive but not necessarily critical material feature.