This article reviews some concepts considered important for an understanding of processes used for preparing cobalt-chromium alloy implants, the microstructures resulting from this processing, and the resulting material properties. The review includes the solidification of alloys, diffusionless (martensitic) phase transformation as occurs with face-centered cubic to hexagonal close-packed transformation in cobalt-chromium alloys, stacking faults and twins and their role in this transformation. It also includes strengthening mechanisms that are responsible for the mechanical properties of cast and wrought cobalt alloys. The article contains tables that list the commonly used cobalt alloys and their biomedical applications and chemical compositions. It discusses the mechanical and corrosion properties of cobalt alloys, and provides a description of the microstructure of cobalt alloys.