Fiber reinforced calcium phosphate cements – On the way to degradable load bearing bone substitutes?
Calcium phosphate cements (CPC) are well-established materials for the repair of bone defects with excellent biocompatibility and bioactivity. However, brittleness and low flexural/tensile strength so far restrict their application to non-load bearing areas. Reinforcement of CPC with fibers can substantially improve its strength and toughness and has been one major strategy to overcome the present mechanical limitations of CPC. Fiber reinforced calcium phosphate cements (FRCPC) thus bear the potential to facilitate the use of degradable bone substitutes in load bearing applications. This review recapitulates the state of the art of FRCPC research with focus on their mechanical properties and their biological evaluation in vitro and in vivo, including the clinical data that has been generated so far. After an overview on FRCPC constitutes and processing, some general aspects of fracture mechanics of reinforced cementitious composites are introduced, and their importance for the mechanical properties of FRCPC are highlighted. So far, fiber reinforcement leads to a toughness increase of up to two orders of magnitude. FRCPC have extensively been examined in vitro and in vivo with generally good results. While first clinical products focus on the improved performance of FRCPC with regard to secondary processing after injection such as fixation of screws and plates, first animal studies in load bearing applications show improved performance as compared to pure CPCs. Aside of the accomplished results, FRCPC bear a great potential for future development and optimization. Future research will have to focus on the selection and tailoring of FRCPC components, fiber–matrix compatibilization, integral composite design and the adjusted degradation behavior of the composite components to ensure successful long term behavior and make the composites strong enough for application in load bearing defects.
Journal: Biomaterials - Volume 33, Issue 25, September 2012, Pages 5887–5900