An implant represents a medical device or tissue designed to permanently or temporarily replace or support any damaged part of the human body aiming to enhance its functionality. There are still reports of a great number of metallic implants that suffer integration failure in the host body because of scarce biocompatibility and/or poor osseointegration.
Hydroxyapatite (HA) is a biocompatible material used as a bone replacement due to its proven osseoconductive properties. However, bulk HA presents weak mechanical properties. In contrast to their excellent mechanical properties, the Ti implants elicit low osseointegration rates. Therefore, their surface functionalization with HA coatings is considered to significantly improve osseoconductivity.
The reliability, fast processing and low production costs have advanced Pulsed Laser Deposition as a versatile method used in the field of thin film synthesis.
A great challenge of the nowadays intensive research in the field of bioactive materials is to reach biomimetism. Therefore, these materials have to behave similar to the human bone in order to be easily integrated into the living body, without inducing adverse reactions. The targeted material should contain oligoelements, which are normally present in the human healthy bone and are important for its functionality, and eventually dopants able to boost its bioactivity. The simplest way to obtain a HA with a bone-like composition, is to manufacture the powders from sustainable materials, such as those of biological origins. Compared to synthetic HA, these novel materials have a great ability to create perfect connections with the host tissue at the implantation site.
The limited reports available in the literature and the recent progresses made by our research team on the synthesis and exhaustive analyses of these renewable materials, validated their use for in vivo tests and the envisaged results should offer guidance toward future medical applications.