Bone transplantation via autograft or allograft is an essential component of surgical management for a variety of skeletal defects. The nondegradable poly(methylmethacrylate) finds use as a bone graft alternative in certain limited clinical situations. There is an array of degradable, synthetic alternatives to these existing choices on the clinical use horizon. These alternatives include a variety of polymeric and ceramic composite materials that can provide immediate structural stability to the reconstructed region. In addition, these materials can deliver cells and growth factors to direct the bone regeneration process. This review discusses recent work in this rapidly evolving field of bone tissue engineering. (C) 2000 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, Inc.
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