Improving Bonding Properties of Surgical Glues for Cartilage Repair Using Liquid Crystal Matrices


This technology offers an improved approach to repairing damaged articular cartilage using traditional bonding adhesives or surgical glues. The technique removes synovial fluid, which inhibits the bonding of surgical glues, from the cartilage surface. A poly(hydroxy substituted amino acid) composite is mixed with the synovial fluid, forming a liquid crystalline matrix on the cartilage surface. This matrix can be easily removed, taking the synovial fluid with it and leaving behind a clean surface so that surgical glue can bond properly. By allowing surgical glues to bond properly to cartilage surfaces, this technology greatly improves the techniques used to repair articular cartilage damaged due to trauma or congenital abnormalities. Effective cartilage repair can relieve joint pain, restore joint function, and postpone or even eliminate the development of osteoarthritis.

This technology is a new method for enhancing the performance of surgical glue/adhesive during repair of articular cartilage.

Found in joints throughout the human body, articular cartilage is essential for proper joint function. Once damaged (through trauma or congenital abnormalities), articular cartilage has a limited capacity to repair itself. Proper repair usually requires reconstructive orthopedic surgery. Surgical methods can include transplantation or allografts, implantation of artificial prosthetic devices, and neocartilage formation utilizing isolated chondrocytes in an organic support matrix or scaffold.

However, these surgical methods have a key limitation: the adhesive or glue used in bonding and stabilizing the transplant, implant, or scaffold on the cartilage surface is negatively affected by the synovial fluid that provides lubrication and nutrition to joint tissues.

This technology creates a liquid crystalline matrix that can be easily removed, taking the synovial fluid with it and leaving behind a clean (i.e., fluid free) cartilage surface. Thus, the efficacy of the surgical adhesives/glues is enhanced rather than inhibited.

A solid or aqueous composition of poly(hydroxy substituted amino acid) is mixed with synovial fluid in the joint. This mixture forms a liquid crystalline (or mesomorphic) matrix on the surface of the cartilage.

For example, when aqueous polythreonine comes in contact with the synovial fluid in the joint, a gelatinous matrix forms that is birefringent (i.e., a liquid crystalline matrix). Other suitable polymers include polyserine, polytyrosine, poly(hydroxyproline), and poly-5-hydroxy lysine. Polymers of L-amino acids are preferred.

The polymer-synovial matrix can be easily removed from the cartilage surface, taking the synovial fluid with it and leaving behind a clean cartilage surface so that the surgical glue/adhesive can bond properly.

Although developed specifically for cartilage surfaces, it is expected that the technology also could be used to modify the surfaces of other joint-associated tissues, including bones, ligaments, and tendons.


  • Repair of articular cartilage in diarthrodial joints (e.g., knee, hip, shoulder, ankle, wrist, finger)
  • Modification of the surfaces of other joint-associated tissues (e.g., bones, ligaments, tendons) 


  • Using standard polymeric composites, this technology enables surgical glues/adhesives to bond properly during cartilage repair procedures 
  • Enhances surgical glue performance: This technology removes synovial fluid from the cartilage surface, allowing surgical glues/adhesives to bond properly 
  • Improves cartilage repair: By enhancing glue performance, this technology provides an overall improvement to the articular cartilage repair process 
  • Simple: This technology is easy to implement during standard reconstructive orthopedic surgery 
  • Low cost: The poly(hydroxy substituted amino acid) needed to create the liquid crystalline matrix on the cartilage surface is inexpensive