Conventional porous-coated joint prostheses used in hip and knee reconstruction have demonstrated good clinical results, however, these implants possess some inherent shortcomings such as low volumetric porosity, suboptimal frictional characteristics, and higher modulus of elasticity relative to that of bone. Porous tantalum, a novel porous biomaterial was developed to address these limitations. Extensive laboratory studies have revealed that porous tantalum has physical, mechanical and tissue in growth properties that makes it a potentially improved biomaterial particularly in complex joint reconstructions. Porous tantalum is a highly porous biomaterial with good biocompatibility, excellent corrosion resistance, and high coefficient of friction. The short term clinical results of porous tantalum in primary hip, revision hip, and knee reconstructive surgery are encouraging but further studies will be needed to determine whether the theoretical advantages of porous tantalum can provide long term biological fixation and stability. This review presents the biomaterial properties and clinical results of porous tantalum devices in hip and knee reconstructive surgeries.
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