Orthopedic Applications

     In the United States, musculoskeletal conditions cost society about $250 billion per year in medical care and lost productivity, according to the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons.  Complex and extensive orthopedic injuries resulting from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have increased the challenges of orthopedic treatment. Polymers have been used in orthopedic applications for some time (e.g., coating articulating surfaces in joint replacement devices).  The Kohn Lab seeks to create new degradable polymers that will expand the current concept of orthopedic biomaterials to include biodynamic, biocompatible substitutes.

     At present, massive bone loss (like that occurring in major accidents or in combat) is reconstructed with non-resorbable synthetic materials, hard tissue replacement, or metallic devices that transiently restore anatomical form and limited function. Currently available synthetic bone materials, for example, do not remodel and integrate with host tissue, and consequently can become infected and require extensive, multiple revision surgeries.  Moreover, no tissue repair technology currently exists for large tendon and muscle defects, such as those common to knee injuries, that is natural, strong and large, has good suture retention, and provides enhanced wound healing.  Enhanced wound healing can be provided via delivery of pharmaceuticals and growth factors or through the provision of effective scaffolding for regrowth of native cells. Our research aims to design and fabricate biodynamic polymers, with the characteristics outlined above, to be used in polymer based orthopedic devices that will speed healing, reducing both pain and medical costs.

Materials for Anterior Cruciate Ligament and Meniscus

Tyrosine-derived Polycarbonates for Use in Bone Injury Repair