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In-patient versus in vitro degradation of P(L/DL)LA and PLGA.

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Maxillofacial and Facial Plastic Surgery, J.-W. Goethe University Medical Center, Frankfurt, Germany.


To assess and compare degradation rates, poly(70L-lactide-co-30DL-lactide) [P(L/DL)LA] and poly(85L-lactide-co-15-glycolide) (PLGA) copolymer degradation were studied in patients (maxillofacial region) and in vitro. Five patients of a total of 20 with 85:15 PLGA osteosyntheses, and 15 of a total of 60 with 70:30 P(L/DL)LA osteosyntheses, (10 females and 10 males, 26-55 years; mean, 33 years) underwent explantations after 3, 6, 9, 12, 18, and 24 months. Identical resorbables immersed in physiological buffer solution at 37 degrees C were compared at identical intervals. P(L/DL)LA's initial average molecular weight of 45,000 decreased to 25,000 in patients (and to 21,000 in vitro) after 6 months, and to 8000 in patients after 18 months. PLGA's average molecular weight decreased from 44,600 to 22,000 after 3 months in patients and in vitro, and to 11,000 in patients and 1300 in vitro at 6 months. In-patient and in vitro glass-transition temperatures decreased from approximately 60 degrees C to 50 degrees C over 18 months. Crystallinity in explants was < or = 4% in P(L/DL)LA throughout testing, and 16% and 30% in PLGA at 6 and 12 months, respectively. Both copolymers decomposed reliably in patients: 85:15 PLGA within 12 months and 70:30 P(L/DL)LA within 24 months on average (p < 0.005), leaving only extremely small granules that powder upon finger touch. In vitro rates were significantly faster (p < 0.005). Crystallinity associated with foreign-body reactions was minor and did not inhibit decomposition.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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