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J Mater Sci Mater Med. 2004 Jul;15(7):755-8.

No corrosion of 304 stainless steel implant after 40 years of service.

Author information

1
Department of Materials Science, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, National University of Singapore, Kent Ridge, Singapore 119260, Republic of Singapore. masdjb@nus.edu.sg

Abstract

When exposed to 0.9% NaCl type 304 stainless steel undergoes severe pitting corrosion within a matter of days. However, a Sherman plate fabricated from type 304 stainless steel remained inside a patient's arm for almost 40 years without any visible indications of corrosion. Given the previous understanding of the pathological environments this was considered quite remarkable. It is proposed that the low dissolved oxygen levels found in human-body fluids makes the long-term in vivo environment much more benign than would be anticipated from in vitro experiments. Furthermore, it is proposed that previous cases of localized pitting corrosion on stainless steel implants most likely arose due to the development of short-term aggressive conditions due to pathological changes in the surrounding tissue as a result of the trauma of the implant procedure. In the present case the Sherman plate was sufficiently small that the surrounding tissue was not aggravated sufficiently to lead to the development of such an environment aggressive. The conclusion that surgical implants are at most risk during the first few weeks of service implies that short-term corrosion protection methods, such as coatings, may be more effective than previously thought.

PMID:
15387410
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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