Stainless steel comes in many varieties, grades and alloys. Medical grade stainless steel refers to a particular mixture of metals that is both strong and durable. Used mostly in surgical instruments and implants, it is highly resistant to scratches and corrosion. But why does this matter? What about this stainless steel makes it particularly well-suited for medical usage?
It’s All in the Composition
Stainless steel is used in fields ranging from architecture to dental care. However, a specific mixture of molybdenum, nickel and chromium is typically what makes up medical grade stainless steel. These metals create a material that is smooth, polished and very strong. Referred to as SAE 316 and 316L (the latter being a low-carbon variety), this particular composition of metals results in a form of steel that is compatible for use on and within the body. Catheters, plates, bone screws and artificial valves are just a few examples of medical implants that require medical grade stainless steel. Externally, this variety of steel is excellent for medical tools; scalpels, for example, leverage the properties of molybdenum, which can be ground into fine, sharp edges perfect for creating incisions.
Long-Lasting and Rust Resistant
Any metal used in medical procedures needs to be high-quality and extremely safe. Medical grade stainless steel reduces the risk of corrosion because of the chromium in its composition, which creates a clean, scratch-free metal. Over time, this means that there is a much lower risk of deterioration, infection, and replacement when the material is used as an internal splint or screw. Body piercings and other modifications use medical grade stainless steel to reduce the chances of rejection and, in certain low-nickel varieties, allergic reactions.
Medical grade stainless steel has been used to create countless medical tools and implants. Without it, many medical procedures would have far more complications.