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Which Metals Are Commonly Used for Surgical Instruments?

Views: 396     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2020-10-21      Origin: Site

There are many factors to consider when selecting materials for use in the medical industry. After all, the wrong material selection can lead to disastrous consequences. The most common metals used in sterile surgical scissors are stainless steel, titanium, tantalum, platinum, and palladium.



Characteristics of Surgical Instrument Materials


The metal must be malleable so that it does not cause defects when it is formed. However, it is not good to have too much ductility because it is necessary to maintain a fixed shape after manufacturing. Of course, we cannot rule out the existence of some instruments that need to have enough extensible materials, because many surgical instruments are long and thin, such as scalpels, tweezers, and curved nursing scissors.


The metal surface must be hard and satin-finished, while the best trauma shears for nurses should be easy to clean and free from bacteria, which helps to prevent the spread of infection. In fact, most surgical instruments are made of metal alloys and stainless steel has always been the metal alloy of choice.


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Metals Used in Surgical Instruments


Stainless Steel


Stainless steel is one of the most commonly used metal alloys in the manufacture of surgical scissors medical.


Austenitic 316 (AISI 316L) steel is a commonly used one, known as surgical steel because it is a very tough and corrosion-resistant metal.

AISI 301 is the most commonly used metal for springs and can be used in medical devices. In cold working, it can obtain mechanical strength but lose corrosion resistance.


Stainless steel can withstand temperatures up to 400 ° C, which means it can be sterilized in a 180 ° C autoclave.




It was not until the 1960s that titanium alloy was used as a material for crocodile forceps, whose strength was very high, and tensile strength was almost the same as that of carbon steel. Despite its high overall strength, it is more flexible than stainless steel which weighs less about 40%.


Titanium has good biocompatibility and inherent quality of fusion with human bone, so it is very suitable for making crocodile forceps surgical instruments and implants, which has become the preferred metal for orthopedic rods, pins, and dental implants. Besides, titanium has better heat resistance than stainless steel, which can withstand a high temperature of 430 ° C.


Orthopedic Tantalum


Tantalum is a kind of refractory metal, which has the physical characteristics of high strength, easy extension, and high melting point, but the most attractive benefit is its high biocompatibility for the medical industry. Orthopedic tantalum is immune to body fluids and has high corrosion resistance, so it can be used in making medical clamps forceps without adverse effects. Also, tantalum can be used as implants and bone substitutes in the prosthesis, whose malleability is an attractive feature because it can be drawn into thin lines or other shapes.


Platinum and Palladium


Platinum and palladium are expensive precious metals and can be easily molded into various shapes because of their high ductility. They are particularly suitable for complex parts, which are ideal for precision surgical instruments, such as scissors for medical use and surgical needle holders. Both platinum and palladium have high corrosion resistance and inertness, so they will not cause problems in contact with the human body or internal organs.