During the last several decades, research into bioceramic coatings for medical implants has emerged as a hot topic among materials scientists and clinical practitioners alike. In particular, today, calcium phosphate-based bioceramic materials are ubiquitously used in clinical applications to coat the stems of metallic endoprosthetic hips as well as the surfaces of dental root implants. Such implants frequently consist of titanium alloys, CoCrMo alloy, or austenitic surgical stainless steels, and aim at replacing lost body parts or restoring functions to diseased or damaged tissues of the human body. In addition, besides such inherently corrosion-resistant metals, increasingly, biodegradable metals such as magnesium alloys are being researched for osseosynthetic devices and coronary stents both of which are intended to remain in the human body for only a short time. Biocompatible coatings provide not only vital biological functions by supporting osseoconductivity but may serve also to protect the metallic parts of implants from corrosion in the aggressive metabolic environment. Moreover, the essential properties of hydroxylapatite-based bioceramic coatings including their in vitro alteration in contact with simulated body fluids will be addressed in this current review paper. In addition, a paradigmatic shift is suggested towards the development of transition metal-substituted calcium hexa-orthophosphates with the NaSiCON (Na superionic conductor) structure to be used for implant coatings with superior degradation resistance in the corrosive body environment and with pronounced ionic conductivity that might be utilized in novel devices for electrical bone growth stimulation.
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