This book enables readers without specialist knowledge to understand the ways in which materials can be used to enhance people's lives. The range is vast — from simple contact uses, through artificial limbs, to permanently implanted devices.To appreciate the medical applications of materials, it is necessary to understand why they are used. Therefore, a discussion on the nature and behaviour of materials is preceded by a survey of the evolution of modern surgical techniques. The effect of “foreign” materials on the body's immune system is then considered, followed by a study of specific uses of materials, including extra-corporeal machines and implanted devices.The last chapter deals with new and highly sophisticated techniques — including minimal access surgery, robotics, nanotechnology, natural polymers, and the growth of “artificial” organs — and concludes with a look at the future.

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