Hydroxyapatite, a naturally-occurring calcium phosphate mineral similar in composition to the mineral element in human bones, is believed to have been first used for medicine in 1952.
Professor Per-Ingvar Branemark experimented using hydroxyapatite and a titanium implant in rabbit bone. When the professor tried to remove the implant from the bone, the implant had integrated with the bone so thoroughly that he could not remove it. This first sparked interest in the use of hydroxyapatite in healthcare. In nature, hydroxyapatite appears to have a yellow, brown, or green hue. In its powder form, it is white in color. It is also bioactive, meaning that hydroxyapatite can integrate into bone structures and support growth without breaking down or dissolving in the human body.
Initially, hydroxyapatite was used in dental implants; today, it is used for a variety of medical purposes, including innovative and cutting edge implants in the spine and orthopedic industries. Spinal implants can be covered with hydroxyapatite coatings. Plasma spraying is generally used to cover the implant. Implants need to be coated to trick the body; if not prepared this way, the body would no doubt recognize the implant as a foreign object, isolating it instead of incorporating it.
Hydroxyapatite is also known as HA. Cutting Edge Spine’s EVOS-HA features hydroxyapatite integrated into the PEEK-OPTIMA material of the spinal implant, and is the first PEEK-OPTIMA HA Enhanced Lumbar Interbodies in the United States and the first to be cleared by the FDA (510k). Why HA for the EVOS? Hydroxyapatite is osteo-conductive, it encourages bone-on growth, and provides significant strength, versatility and performance advantages. With the hydroxyapatite, the EVOS-HA offers a superior solution to bone apposition. The future of hydroxyapatite is already here—in the healthcare industry and beyond. HA is used for bone tissue engineering, bone void fillers, dental implant coatings, restoration of periodontal defects, as a desensitizing agent in post teeth bleaching, drug and gene delivery, and even as a re-mineralizing agent in toothpaste. Builders are even considering hydroxyapatite to preserve materials like limestone.
HA will more than likely continue to help revolutionize the spine industry with its non-toxicity and non-inflammatory nature.
Bonus Fact: Coral skeletons can transform into hydroxyapatite at high temperatures.
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