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1. (US20120178836) Interconnected porous non-degradable poly(vinyl) alcohol implant and method of manufacture
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Claims

1. A method of manufacturing an interconnected porous non-biodegradable polymer implant suitable for implantation into a mammal for the treatment, repair or replacement of defects or injury in musculoskeletal tissue, comprising the steps of:
a. soaking a sponge containing a biodegradable polymer in deionized water for a period of about 1 hour to 5 days;
b. centrifuging the sponge during the soaking;
c. substituting the water with a non-biodegradable polymer in steps of increasing concentration up to a desired final concentration;
d. freezing the sponge to about −20° C. for about 4 to 24 hours and subsequently thawing the sponge at about 25° C. for about 4 to 12 hours, wherein the freeze-thaw process is performed 1 to 8 times; and
e. enzymatically digesting away the biodegradable polymer in the sponge,
wherein the mechanical properties of the implant can be controlled by varying the concentration of the non-biodegradable polymer and/or varying the duration and number of freeze-thaw cycles and the interconnected porous non-biodegradable polymer implant has sufficient percent porosity and pore diameter to facilitate integration of cells and attachment within the mammal via ingrowth of surrounding tissue.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein the non-biodegradable polymer is poly(vinyl) alcohol (PVA).
3. The method of claim 2, wherein the final concentration of the PVA in the implant is about 10% to 40%.
4. The method of claim 1, wherein the biodegradable polymer is collagen, gelatin, poly(lactic) acid, poly(glycolic) acid or alginate.
5. The method of claim 2, wherein the freezing of the sponge takes place at about −20° C. for about 20 hours and thawing the sponge takes place at about 25° C. for about 4 hours, and the freeze-thaw process is performed 6 times.
6. The method of claim 1, wherein the enzyme used for the enzymatic digestion of the biodegradable polymer is collagenase.
7. The method of claim 1, wherein the mechanical properties of the implant can be further controlled by varying the degree of enzymatic digestion of the biodegradable polymer.
8. The method of claim 1, wherein the mammal is a human.
9. The method of claim 1, comprising the additional step of dehydrating the implant prior to implantation.
10. The method of claim 1, further comprising dehydrating the implant after performing steps a. to d., and placing the implant in hydrochloric acid at a concentration and for a period of time that allows the digestion of the non-biodegradable polymer in order to obtain a determined final pore diameter of the implant.
11. The method of claim 10, wherein the concentration of the hydrochloric acid is about 1.5N and the period of time is about 15 minutes to 60 minutes.
12. The method of claim 10, wherein the final pore diameter of the implant is about 30 to 200 μm.
13. The method of claim 10, comprising the additional step of dehydrating the implant prior to implantation.
14. The method of claim 1, further comprising removing a section from the implant after performing steps a.-d., adding additional non-biodegradable polymer to the section, performing additional freeze-thaw processes, and enzymatically digesting the entire implant, wherein the resulting implant has varying percent porosity and pore diameter throughout the implant, ranging from zero porosity in the center of the implant to a larger porosity at the periphery of the implant.
15. The method of claim 14, wherein the non-biodegradable polymer is PVA.
16. The method of claim 14, comprising the additional step of dehydrating the implant prior to implantation.
17. The method of claim 14, further comprising dehydrating the periphery of the implant, and placing the periphery of the implant in hydrochloric acid at a concentration and for a period of time that allows the digestion of the non-biodegradable polymer in order to obtain a determined final pore diameter of the periphery of the implant.
18. The method of claim 17, wherein the concentration of the hydrochloric acid is about 1.5N and the period of time is about 15 minutes to 60 minutes.
19. The method of claim 17, comprising the additional step of dehydrating the implant prior to implantation.