The advent of biodegradable polymers has significantly influenced the development and rapid growth of various technologies in modern medicine. Biodegradable polymers are mainly used where the transient existence of materials is required and they find applications as sutures, scaffolds for tissue regeneration, tissue adhesives, hemostats, and transient barriers for tissue adhesion, as well as drug delivery systems. Each of these applications demands materials with unique physical, chemical, biological, and biomechanical properties to provide efficient therapy. Consequently, a wide range of degradable polymers, both natural and synthetic, have been investigated for these applications. Furthermore, recent advances in molecular and cellular biology, coupled with the development of novel biotechnological drugs, necessitate the modification of existing polymers or synthesis of novel polymers for specific applications. This review highlights various biodegradable polymeric materials currently investigated for use in two key medical applications: drug delivery and tissue engineering.
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