One of the largest successes of modern medicine is the total hip replacement. Presently this procedure has one of the highest success rate among surgical interventions, only second to the appendix removal procedure. However the lifetime of the prosthesis itself is still limited to 10 to 20 years, which means that for numerous patients replacement of the procedure will become mandatory. This replacement finds its origin in aseptic loosening of the prosthesis mainly caused by the formation of wear particles at articular joints and by the difference in stiffness between the bone and the metallic prosthesis leading phenomena called stress shielding. To overcome this problem, new designs of more biomimetic prostheses, with stiffness similar to that of cortical bone, are being studied. Among the latter, a novel design based on polymer composite materials of total hip replacement prosthesis is under development. One of the key characteristics of this biomimetic prosthesis is its hydroxyapatite coating, which permits Osseo integration (integration into the bone). Thermally sprayed hydroxyapatite coatings are already used successfully for metallic implants, but plasma sprayed hydroxyapatite coatings have yet to be developed for polymer composites due to quite challenging heat management and adhesion concerns. This paper describes and discusses the optimization of the plasma sprayed technique and the formation of the adequate underlayer enabling the plasma spray on highly heat sensitive substrate. Adhesion, shear and fatigue results are presented. Abstract only; no full-text paper available.

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