Biomedical applications require polymers that react properly with the biological environment in which they are employed. Since biocompatibility involves the interface between the device and the biological environment, surface modification techniques can be critical to solve adhesion issues, avoiding costly changes of materials. Atmospheric surface modification techniques such as air plasma, flame plasma and chemical plasma discharges can positively affect medical polymers such as high molecular weight polyethylene in a localized manner to produce useful results, such as increasing the hydrophilic nature of the surface or crosslinking functional groups to the surface. An in-depth examination of the design of these atmospheric technologies relative to specific biomedical materials and applications is presented.
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