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Implantable Stainless Steel Structures

Stainless steel is a steel alloy with a minimum of 10.5% chromium content (by mass). There are many different grades of stainless steel available, with varying chemical compositions. All types of stainless steel exhibit high natural corrosion resistance, thanks to a protective passivating layer created by the chromium content—the higher the chromium content, the greater the stainless steel’s corrosion resistance.

Specific grades, known as “surgical stainless steel”, exhibit excellent biocompatibility, making them ideal for biomedical implants, surgical tools, and other medical devices. The most common grade of biomedical stainless steel—316 stainless steel—is used for everything from general surgery to orthopedic implants.

Physical Properties of 316 Surgical Stainless Steel

  • Good strength: 300/560 MPa
  • High stiffness: 200 GPa
  • Good fatigue resistance
  • High corrosion resistance
  • Good biocompatibility
  • Composition: 63% iron, 14% nickel, 18% chromium, balance molybdenum, and manganese


What is “Surgical Stainless Steel”?

While there is no formal definition of what constitutes “surgical stainless steel”, certain grades are better suited to biomedical use thanks to their enhanced biocompatibility. 316 stainless steel is the most widely used biomedical stainless steel and is often used to manufacture bone fixation screws, prosthetics, and other implantable devices.

Other common grades of surgical stainless steel include 420 and 440 grades, also known as “cutlery stainless steel”. These martensitic grades are not as corrosion resistant as 316 austenitic steel and may be slightly magnetic, which can be problematic for certain types of medical implants. Because of this, 420 and 440 biomedical stainless steel is most often used for cutting instruments and other non-implantable devices.

Biomedical Stainless Steel Structures

Many advanced implantable medical devices now make use of stainless steel structures to provide a greater range of motion for the patient along with improved strength and corrosion resistance that will last as long as the procedure requires—often permanently.

Made from surgical stainless steel, these implants can help patients maintain comfortable movement and reduce recovery times. Implantable stainless steel structures can be used for short- or long-term repairs. They are also commonly used in permanent orthopedic implants, such as:

  • Hip
  • Spine
  • Knee, foot, ankle
  • Shoulder, elbow, hand, wrist
  • Soft connective tissue
  • and more

Custom Implantable Stainless Steel from US BioDesign

US BioDesign is the proven expert in precision structures for implantable medical applications. We specialize in creating custom surgical stainless steel that matches our customers’ unique design specifications. Whether you need temporary solutions or permanent implants, we will work with you to develop 316 stainless steel braided tubes and braided cables that meet your application and performance requirements. We are ISO 13485:2016 registered.

Contact Us for Biomedical Stainless Steel Solutions

We have the experience and the expertise to deliver custom surgical stainless steel structures for even the most challenging medical procedures. Contact US BioDesign to learn more about our implantable stainless steel capabilities, or request a quote to get started on your project. Additionally, please browse our Virtual Sample Kit for inspiration from samples of our technology.

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