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Medical Uses for Titanium

Updated on March 28, 2013

The Wonders of Titanium

Titanium has become something of a wonder substance in its own right, due to the metal’s amazing strength and its very high strength-to-weight ratio. It does not take much titanium to support a heavy load and in medicine this quality is of utmost importance. The metal has been used in sporting goods and aerospace engineering for decades, but is now finding a new home in the world of computers and medicine. While dozens of industrial applications exist for the metal, medical science has begun to surpass most other fields as the primary beneficiary of titanium’s unique properties.

Because titanium is so durable, medical professionals prefer to use it for various types of bone replacement therapies. Joint and bone operations almost invariably use the metal to some extent, and even surgical instruments are often composted of titanium.

Perhaps the most significant quality of the substance is its biocompatibility. The human body often rejects foreign substances as a natural response. Not so for titanium. Not only does the body accept it but titanium also has a higher chance of not infecting tissue or blood in the process. In medicine, this biocompatible property of titanium is paramount.

The complicated process of implanting dental components is made much easier by the use of titanium. When positioning an implant into a patient’s jaw, a specialist will often use a root of titanium and a covering of natural tooth enamel. Because the body accepts it, and since it is so strong in the fist place, titanium is the ideal metal to use for this delicate operation.

In fact, prosthetic devices of all kinds are built from the amazingly strong metal, whether that entails limb prostheses or smaller internal units that must last a lifetime. When science calls for a chemical element that can withstand years of use, is safe for implantation, and is not heavy, then titanium is invariably the choice.

Joint and bone replacement therapies have come to rely on titanium’s strength, even in the most fragile areas of the human body, the pelvic girdle. In the last two decades, hip replacement has become a much more common procedure, a phenomenon in no small part due to the availability of titanium.

Like the aerospace industry, the world of medical science continues to discover new uses for titanium. Whether in medicine, sports, engineering, or weaponry, titanium has found an enthusiastic audience. Its sheer power, low weight and near invincibility have made it the choice of professionals in numerous industries.

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