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Polymers offer a wide range of choices for medical applications because of their versatility in properties and processing. This article provides an overview of polymeric materials and the characteristics that make them a unique class of materials. It describes the ways to classify polymers, including the polymerization method, how the material deforms, or molecular origin or stability. The article contains tables that list common medical polymers used in medical devices. It describes the medical polymer selection criteria and regulatory aspects of materials selection failure analysis and prevention. Failure analysis and prevention processes to determine the root cause of failures that arise at different stages of the product life cycle are reviewed. The article describes the mechanisms of plastic product failure analysis. It discusses the trends in the use of medical polymers, such as high-performance polymers for implants, tissue engineering, and bioresorbable polymers.

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