What is biocompatibility?

And why is it the most important property of biomaterials?

A standard definition of biocompatibility is
“the ability of a biomaterial to perform its desired function with respect to a medical therapy, without eliciting any undesirable local or systemic effects in the recipient or beneficiary of that therapy, but generating the most appropriate beneficial cellular or tissue response in that specific situation, and optimizing the clinically relevant performance of that therapy” (Williams, 2008).

Test Methods

Materials Characterization

Many materials proterties can influence biocompatibility, like porosity, fiber dimension and topography. Biocompatibility can be predicted by materials analysis with lower cost and less time.

In vitro Testing

By using in vitro laboratory tests, dangers for patients and unnecessary animal experiments can be avoided. In vitro tests are carried out for cell compatibility (cytotoxicity) and blood compatibility (haemocompatibility).

In vivo Testing

The goal of the in vivo testing is to determine and predict whether such devices present potential harm to the patient or user by evaluations under conditions simulating clinical use.

Clinical Study

Some influence of biomaterials can only be detect after implantation, like the metal ions of total hip replacement. After implantation the patients should be examined regularly.