Nanoclay-reinforced biomaterials have sparked a new avenue in advanced healthcare materials that can potentially revolutionize treatment of musculoskeletal defects. Native tissues display many important chemical, mechanical, biological, and physical properties that engineered biomaterials need to mimic for optimal tissue integration and regeneration. However, it is time-consuming and difficult to endow such combinatorial properties on materials via feasible and nontoxic procedures. Fortunately, a number of nanomaterials such as graphene, carbon nanotubes, MXenes, and nanoclays already display a plethora of material properties that can be transferred to biomaterials through a simple incorporation procedure. In this direction, the members of the nanoclay family are easy to functionalize chemically, they can significantly reinforce the mechanical performance of biomaterials, and can provide bioactive properties by ionic dissolution products to upregulate cartilage and bone tissue formation. For this reason, nanoclays can become a key component for future orthopedic biomaterials. In this review, we specifically focus on the rapidly decreasing gap between clinic and laboratory by highlighting their application in a number of promising in vivo studies.
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