Implants of poly(ether ether ketone) (PEEK) are gaining importance in surgical bone reconstruction of the skull. As with any implant material, PEEK is susceptible to bacterial contamination and occasionally PEEK implants were removed from patients because of infection. To address this problem, a combination of anti-fouling and bactericidal polymers is grafted onto PEEK. The originality is that anti-fouling (modified poly(ethylene glycol)) and bactericidal (quaternized poly(dimethylaminoethyl acrylate)) moieties are simultaneously and covalently grafted onto PEEK via UV photoinsertion. The functionalized PEEK surfaces are evaluated by water contact angle measurements, FTIR, XPS and AFM. Grafting of anti-fouling and bactericidal polymers significantly reduces Staphylococcus aureus adhesion on PEEK surfaces without exhibiting cytotoxicity in vitro. This study demonstrates that grafting combinations of anti-fouling and bactericidal polymers synergistically prevents bacterial adhesion on PEEK implants. This approach shows clinical relevance as grafting is rapid, does not modify PEEK properties and can be conducted on pre-formed implants.
- Aryl-azide photoinsertion
- Bactericidal polymers
- Poly(ether ether ketone) (PEEK)
- Surface modification
- Anti-fouling polymers