Metallic biomaterials continue to be used extensively for the fabrication of surgical implants primarily for the same reason that led to their initial selection for these devices many decades ago. The high strength and resistance to fracture that this class of material can provide, assuming proper processing, gives reliable long-term implant performance in major load-bearing situations. Coupled with a relative ease of fabrication of both simple and complex shapes using well-established and widely available fabrication techniques (e.g., casting, forging, machining), this has promoted metal use in the fields of orthopedics and dentistry primarily, the two areas in which highly loaded devices are most common although similar reasons have led to their use for forming cardiovascular devices (e.g., artificial heart valves, blood conduits and other components of heart assist devices, vascular stents), and neurovascular implants (aneurysm clips). In addition, the good electrical conductivity of metals favors their use for neuromuscular stimulation devices, the most common example being cardiac pacemakers. These favorable properties (good fracture resistance, electrical conductivity, formability) are related to the metallic interatomic bonding that characterizes this class of material. While the purpose of this chapter is to focus on the important issues pertaining to the processing and performance of metallic biomaterials and to review the metals that are currently used for implant fabrication, a brief review of fundamental issues related to the structure-property relations of metals in general follows.


Fatigue Strength Austenitic Stainless Steel Fatigue Crack Initiation NiTi Alloy Excellent Corrosion Resistance 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of TorontoTorontoCanada

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