• Larry L. Hench

    1. Department of Materials, Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine, University of London, London, United Kingdom
    Search for more papers by this author
    • *

      Member, American Ceramic Society.

  • P. W. Brown—contributing editor


Ceramics used for the repair and reconstruction of diseased or damaged parts of the musculo-skeletal system, termed bioceramics, may be bioinert (e.g., alumina and zirconia), resorbable (e.g., tricalcium phosphate), bioactive (e.g., hydroxyapatite, bioactive glasses, and glass-ceramics), or porous for tissue ingrowth (e.g., hydroxyapatite-coated metals). Applications include replacements for hips, knees, teeth, tendons, and ligaments and repair for periodontal disease, maxillofacial reconstruction, augmentation and stabilization of the jaw bone, spinal fusion, and bone repair after tumor surgery. Pyrolytic carbon coatings are thromboresistant and are used for prosthetic heart valves. The mechanisms of tissue bonding to bioactive ceramics have resulted in the molecular design of bioceramics for interfacial bonding with hard and soft tissue. Bioactive composites are being developed with high toughness and elastic modulus that match with bone. Therapeutic treatment of cancer has been achieved by localized delivery of radioactive isotopes via glass beads. Clinical success of bioceramics has led to a remarkable advance in the quality of life for millions of people.