Collagen membranes are hydrophilic resorbable membranes. Xenogenic (e.g. bovine or porcine) collagen membranes are mainly used in the dental sector.
The collagen structure is differentiated between more rigid (artificial) crosslinked and more flexible (native, natural) non-crosslinked materials. Comparative studies show that the latter exhibit lower complication rates and advantages during wound healing.
Up till now the good properties of resorbable membranes - on the one hand maintaining the barrier function and on the other hand biointegration in the form of quicker vascularisation, penetration and resorption – appeared to be mutually exclusive. According to the latest research results, there seems to be a paradigm shift taking place in this regard.
Native collagen membranes maintain their barrier function over an appropriate period: the quantity and quality of bone regeneration under a native collagen membrane are comparable to those of membranes with an extended barrier time. Integration in the tissue is, however, quicker and triggers a much lower inflammation reaction.
The range of applications for collagen membranes includes general GBR and GTR procedures in particular preventive and preimplantological stabilisation of extraction sockets (socket grafting and ridge preservation), coverage of bone defects following apicectomies, coverage of the Schneiderian membrane and the access window with lateral sinus floor elevation, coverage of augmentation materials with immediate, delayed or late implantation, with preprosthetic alveolar ridge augmentation and with periodontal surgery indications.
Although allergic reactions to collagen membranes may occur, these are rare due to the biological similarity of the tissue. With all materials of a natural origin, particularly those of animal origin, thorough pretreatment is necessary to exclude the transference of pathogens.