The future of biologic coatings for orthopaedic implants

Biomaterials. 2013 Apr;34(13):3174-83. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2013.01.074. Epub 2013 Feb 4.


Implants are widely used for orthopaedic applications such as fixing fractures, repairing non-unions, obtaining a joint arthrodesis, total joint arthroplasty, spinal reconstruction, and soft tissue anchorage. Previously, orthopaedic implants were designed simply as mechanical devices; the biological aspects of the implant were a byproduct of stable internal/external fixation of the device to the surrounding bone or soft tissue. More recently, biologic coatings have been incorporated into orthopaedic implants in order to modulate the surrounding biological environment. This opinion article reviews current and potential future use of biologic coatings for orthopaedic implants to facilitate osseointegration and mitigate possible adverse tissue responses including the foreign body reaction and implant infection. While many of these coatings are still in the preclinical testing stage, bioengineers, material scientists and surgeons continue to explore surface coatings as a means of improving clinical outcome of patients undergoing orthopaedic surgery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible / pharmacology*
  • Foreign-Body Reaction / etiology
  • Humans
  • Orthopedics*
  • Osseointegration / drug effects
  • Prostheses and Implants* / adverse effects
  • Prosthesis-Related Infections / prevention & control


  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible