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Methods to Create and Characteristics of Porous Polyvinyl Alcohol for the Purpose of Facial Implants

Facial implants are becoming more common in America and across the world. In the United States last year, over 260,000 augmentation and reconstruction surgeries were performed on facial cartilage areas, while over two million soft tissue fillers were administered. The current materials on the market, though, need improvement.

Cartilage replacements have a range of problems that include displacement and ejection to an unnatural feel within the body. Most soft tissue fillers are only temporary while those that are permanent can lead to disfigurement if they become infected or rejected.

Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) is a biocompatible hydrogel that can be made in a range of mechanical properties similar to tissues within the body. Its lack of porosity, however, prevents it from becoming integrated into the surrounding tissues and leaves it susceptible to migration. In this thesis, multiple porosity inducing methods are applied to PVA in order to address this problem.

These samples then undergo a series of tests to determine their mechanical properties which include pore size, porosity, tensile strength, elongation, elasticity, and tear strength. These values can be used in the future to determine the appropriate porous PVA required for a range of applications including facial implants.

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