Biostable Shape Memory Polymer Foams for Smart Biomaterial Applications

Polymers (Basel). 2021 Nov 24;13(23):4084. doi: 10.3390/polym13234084.


Polyurethane foams provide a wide range of applications as a biomaterial system due to the ability to tune their physical, chemical, and biological properties to meet the requirements of the intended applications. Another key parameter that determines the usability of this biomaterial is its degradability under body conditions. Several current approaches focus on slowing the degradation rate for applications that require the implant to be present for a longer time frame (over 100 days). Here, biostable shape memory polymer (SMP) foams were synthesized with added ether-containing monomers to tune the degradation rates. The physical, thermal and shape memory properties of these foams were characterized along with their cytocompatibility and blood interactions. Degradation profiles were assessed in vitro in oxidative (3% H2O2; real-time) and hydrolytic media (0.1 M NaOH; accelerated) at 37 °C. The resulting foams had tunable degradation rates, with up 15% mass remaining after 108 days, and controlled erosion profiles. These easy-to-use, shape-filling SMP foams have the potential for various biomaterial applications where longer-term stability without the need for implant removal is desired.

Keywords: biostable; degradation; foams; oxidation; polyurethanes; shape memory polymers.