Metals and Medical Applications: What Are These

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Girl helping senior woman on wheelchair getting into a car, horizontal

The progress made in the medical industry has been largely unprecedented. With many other innovations, inventions and discoveries, this sector is still  developing at a very rapid pace. To ease a patient’s health troubles and facilitating greater care, several pieces of equipment and tools are used. And to check its efficacy and safety, they are passed through several stringent quality tests. With time, there are some metals that have been considered secure by the government and this article gives you information about a few of them. 

Tungsten

One of the rare metals, tungsten has a high melting point which is about 3422-degree celsius. Medically, it has a lot of utilities in a variety of applications like multi-leaf collimators, oncology treatment instruments, containment crates, medical isotope production, etc. It is also utilized in radiation shielding materials, syringe shields, and lead shielding parts. The high density tungsten powder is put to use for genetic modification and in radiation compensators. It is also well known for its role in creating shieldings that are used for X-ray scans. As it can withstand high temperatures, it helps to keep the environmental exposure level to the absolute minimum. 

Stainless Steel

For a lot of different kinds of medical appliances, stainless steel is a popular choice. It is corrosion-resistant, non-toxic, and highly durable. Also as it can be easily polished to a very fine finish, it can be easily cleaned.In most cases, the types of SS used are 316 and 316L. Both these variants of SS are known to have lower concentration of carbon, and other heavy metals including Ni and Mn. This leads to fewer long-term effects on the body. As the rusting can cause infections in the bloodstream, therefore, stainless steel and its low nickel varieties are considered safer. It is very common to see it being used for orthopedic purposes like replacing hip joints, stabilizing hip bones with screws and plates, and in surgical tools like tweezers, forceps, etc. Because stainless steel is very durable, easily cleanable, and can be sterilized, sometimes it is also used for intravascular stents. 

Titanium

If not steel, the next best substitute stands to be titanium when it comes to making skeletal supports and bone replacements.  Titanium is slightly lighter in weight but has the equal strength and durability. This is what makes it to have the power of  excellent bio-compatibility. It is considered just the right match for dental implants and that is because it can be used for 3D printing for a perfectly customizable scan or X-ray.

Copper

Copper is rarely used directly for medical implants. This is because copper is soft and may cause toxicity inside of tissue. But, some copper alloys are still used in dental implants and to prevent infections in bone transplant operations. Because of its antiviral and antibacterial properties, it is mostly used to make things that are constantly touched like handles and railings. It is very unique and more than 400 of its alloys have been approved by FDA as biocidal and have been found useful to even prevent the spread of viruses like SARS-CoV-2 in recent research.

The Conclusion

Deeper studies allow many common metals’ unknown properties to come to light. And with time, more and more interesting purposes and uses will be found out. We sincerely hope that this article proves worthy of your read.

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