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Eur Surg Res. 1992;24(6):378-82.

Comparative cell culture effects of shape memory metal (Nitinol), nickel and titanium: a biocompatibility estimation.

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  • 1Department of Traumatology/General Surgery, University Hospital Rotterdam, Dijkzigt, The Netherlands.


Nitinol is an equiatomic alloy of nickel and titanium which has been attracting increasing interest in the field of biomedical engineering. To quantify toxicity as a preliminary evaluation of biocompatibility, inhibition of mitosis in human fibroblasts in tissue cultures exposed to test materials is an accepted screening method, although a dose-effect relationship had never been investigated. In this experiment, the effect of an increasing dose exposure to Nitinol, nickel or titanium on human fibroblasts in cell cultures was tested in subgroups in comparison with a control group. The results showed that nickel induces a significant (p < or = 0.05) inhibition of mitosis in human fibroblasts, whereas no significant effects of this kind were found for titanium or Nitinol. According to the results of these studies, Nitinol is to be considered in this respect biocompatible and comparable to titanium, which would seem to justify application as a surgical implant.

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