Hydroxyapatite in Total Hip Arthroplasty: Clinical Results and Critical Issues

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Surgeons who perform arthroplasties have posed some critical questions about hydroxyapatite. Does hydroxyapatite coating enhance bone ingrowth or ongrowth? Will hydroxyapatite lead to increased polyethylene wear or an increased incidence of osteolysis? Will the hydroxyapatite coating disappear, and if so, what will be left to maintain implant fixation? A multicenter study of 316 hips (282 patients) with a proximally hydroxyapatite coated stem and either a hydroxyapatite or porous coated cup were followed up 8.1 years (range, 5.6-9.9 years). The average patient age was 50 years (range, 16-81 years), and 61% of the patients were male. One (0.3%) stem, three (2.7%) porous coated cups, and 25 (11.9%) hydroxyapatite coated cups were revised for aseptic loosening. Disappointing results on the acetabular side indicate that substrate design is critical. There were no cases of intramedullary femoral osteolysis, and the incidence of acetabular and proximal femoral osteolysis and polyethylene wear was no greater than that seen with other cementless or cemented components. Based on these clinical results and a critical review of the literature, it is concluded that hydroxyapatite coated hip components do enhance ingrowth or ongrowth with no increased incidence of osteolysis for as many as 10 years. Concern about the disappearance of the hydroxyapatite coating with time seems moot in light of the above clinical findings.

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