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Why is stainless steel commonly used in plastic surgery instruments?

 Different factors are taken into account when selecting a material to use in the medical instruments. The use of the wrong materials can lead to disastrous outcomes in patients. This is one of the reasons why only certain materials are used in surgical instruments of different medical fields. The most common metals include stainless steel, platinum, titanium, tantalum, palladium, and so on. Out of all the metals used, stainless steel is the most widely used and popular metal used in plastic surgeries.

Malleability and ductility

The metals used in surgical instruments need to be malleable. This is important to ensure that the instruments are shaped without any errors. But, it shouldn’t be excessively malleable, as the instruments need to withhold the shape once manufactured. Based on the application, the metal used in the surgical instrument must be ductile as well. Surgical instruments used in plastic surgeries like forceps, scalpels, forceps, etc., shouldn’t break during the operation. Out of the metals allowed to be used in surgical instrument manufacturing, stainless steel seems to be more ductile and malleable than the others.

Withstand high temperature

Surgical instruments are subjected to high temperatures during the sterilization procedure. Sterilization is vital before and after the surgery takes place so that there is no scope for any infections. The surgical instruments are sterilized for a minimum of half an hour at a significantly higher temperature. Stainless steel plastic surgery instruments are ideal to bear high temperatures and retain their physical properties without changing shape, size, and other dimensions. Repeated sterilization procedures often lead to a change in the dimensions of metals. But this is not the case with stainless steel medical instruments.

Resistance to wear and tear

Plastic surgery has gained immense popularity in the last few years. Thousands of people are approaching plastic surgeons and experts for treatment. Hence, surgeons utilize different types of instruments every day. There are times when a plastic surgeon might have to use certain surgical instruments multiple times in a day. This indicates that wearing and tearing surgical instruments is common. Worn-out instruments might not be optimal to be used to perform minute and complex surgeries. Thanks to the physical properties of high-quality, and medical-grade stainless steel that doesn’t undergo rapid wear and tear or bluntness. Thus, surgeons can operate without any flaws.


Surgical instruments used in every plastic surgery procedure are exposed to different types of body fluids, cleansers, and tap water. The human body fluids, like pus, blood, etc., consist of chloride ions, which can potentially corrode surgical instruments. Furthermore, tap water, consisting of a high percentage of sodium, magnesium, chlorine, etc., is used to clean the instruments. The presence of such elements in high concentration can cause severe corrosion and stains and get accumulated on surgical instruments. The cleansers used to clean the instruments includes alkaline or acidic solution with a vast range of pH levels. These can corrode surgical instruments and tools over time.


Biocompatibility is an important factor to be considered when choosing a surgical instrument. The compatibility with living tissue is vital to ensure the safety of the patients. The primary advantage of using biocompatible surgical instruments and tools is that they don’t produce a toxic response when exposed to body fluids, and other parts of the body. Elements like cobalt, nickel, and chromium are known to cause tissue hypersensitivity and other allergic complications. Stainless steel is one such metal that is biocompatible, and the reason for its wide application in plastic surgery tools and instruments. There are several other metals used in medical instruments that are biocompatible, but stainless steel seems to top the list of favorable metals.

Easy to handle

Since plastic surgeries involve intricate tissues and nerves, ergonomic instruments are always preferred. Thanks to the lightweight, and ergonomic features of stainless steel, they are ideal for carrying out delicate plastic surgeries. Easy-to-handle instruments are always preferred by surgeons, especially when repetitive surgical dissections and procedures are performed. Along with stainless steel instruments, titanium is another metal that fit the list.


There are several alternative metals available for surgical instrument use. Stainless steel seems to be a better option than the majority of metals. Durability, strength, ductility, resistance to corrosion, and lightweight, are some of the prime reasons that surgical instruments used in plastic surgeries and other medical procedures are made of stainless steel.

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