Porous tantalum is an alternative metal for total joint arthroplasty components that offers several unique properties. Its high volumetric porosity (70% to 80%), low modulus of elasticity (3 MPa), and high frictional characteristics make it conducive to biologic fixation. Tantalum has excellent biocompatibility and is safe to use in vivo. The low modulus of elasticity allows for more physiologic load transfer and relative preservation of bone stock. Because of its bioactive nature and ingrowth properties, tantalum is used in primary as well as revision total hip arthroplasty components, with good to excellent early clinical results. In revision arthroplasty, standard and custom augments may serve as a structural bone graft substitute. Formation of a bone-like apatite coating in vivo affords strong fibrous ingrowth properties and allows for substantial soft-tissue attachment, indicating potential for use in cases requiring reattachment of muscles and tendons to a prosthesis. Development of modular components and femoral stems also is being evaluated. The initial clinical data and basic science studies support further investigation of porous tantalum as an alternative to traditional implant materials.