• plasma spray;
  • hydroxyapatite coating;
  • orthopedic implant;
  • implant fixation;
  • bone growth;
  • resorption;
  • wear


The clinical use of plasma-sprayed hydroxyapatite (HA) coatings on metal implants has aroused as many controversies as interests over the last decade. Although faster and stronger fixation and more bone growth have been revealed, the performance of HA-coated implants has been doubted. This article will initially address the fundamentals of the material selection, design, and processing of the HA coating and show how the coating microstructure and properties can be a good predictor of the expected behavior in the body. Further discussion will clarify the major concerns with the clinical use of HA coatings and introduce a comprehensive review concerning the outcomes experienced with respect to clinical practice over the past 5 years. A reflection on the results indicates that HA coatings can promote earlier and stronger fixation but exhibit a durability that can be related to the coating quality. Specific relationships between coating quality and clinical performance are being established as characterization methods disclose more information about the coating. © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res (Appl Biomater) 58: 570–592, 2001