With the progress that is being made in science and medicine everyday, understanding the safety of what is inserted into you during procedures is incredibly important. Biocompatibility refers to the ability of a compound or device to perform its duties within the host without issuing a hostile response.
It is nearly impossible to talk in terms of purely how the material performs in any situation. Similarly, one cannot describe how well a device works based solely on how it performs in relation to one tissue type, as anything that a device is going to be integrated with will have several cell types. Instead one would have to describe the ability of a device to be biocompatible in a different way.
No toxicity or harmful effects
First is the ability of the device to not have a toxic or particularly injurious effect on the system. This means that it is not going to harm you by being inserted into your body. For example, these days no one is willing to insert something with any trace residues of mercury into their body due to the fact that mercury is a deadly metal that, if it doesn't kill you, can cause some long lasting negative effects. Thus, testing to make sure that it will not be harmful to any system is required.
Ability to work with all cell types that it is inferencing with
Second is the ability of the device to work with the multitude of cell types that it will be inferencing with. If the device is able to be accepted and integrated with muscle cells, but not fat cells for instance, the device will not be able to attach to any complex muscle areas and work within that muscle structure. Similarly, if the device is meant to work within the heart, it must be able to not only work with muscle and fat cells, but also red and white blood cells. If it can't work with all of those cell types, it will not be as effective at its job, and may cause more harm than good.
There you have it, a quick overview of the importance of biocompatibility, and a few of the criteria that will make a device biocompatible with a system that it is being introduced into. Testing is essential in these case to ensure that the device is safe for use in the system that it is intended for. To learn more, contact a lab like Nelson Laboratories.