Surface modification of polymers for medical applications

Biomaterials. 1994 Aug;15(10):725-36. doi: 10.1016/0142-9612(94)90025-6.


Most of the conventional materials do not meet the demands required for both their surface and bulk properties when used as biomaterials. An effective approach for developing a clinically applicable biomaterial is to modify the surface of the material which already has excellent biofunctionality and bulk properties. This review article focuses on the surface modification of polymers by grafting techniques, which have long been known in polymer chemistry but are not yet widely applied to biomaterials. A grafted surface can be produced primarily either by graft polymerization of monomers or covalent coupling reaction of existing polymer molecules onto the substrate polymer surface. The major surface properties that should be modified include two kinds of biocompatibility. One is the surface property that elicits the least foreign-body reactions and the other is the cell- and tissue-bonding capability. In addition, physiologically active surfaces with, for instance, selective adsorbability may be required. Attempts to produce these biocompatible or biospecific surfaces by grafting techniques are briefly overviewed in this article.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biocompatible Materials*
  • Carbohydrate Sequence
  • Equipment and Supplies
  • Humans
  • Polymers / chemistry*
  • Surface Properties


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Polymers