Titanium Only – the e-zine about titanium metal and titanium applications

“They took a piece of my ribs and fused the two vertebrae, ... They also put some screws and two titanium rods through the three top and bottom vertebra to make it strong

Bruno Junqueira, former Formula 3000 champion and three-time runner-up in the Champ Car World Series, after a crash.


1. How concerned should you be about an allergy to titanium metal.

2. New titanium applications

3. Titanium joke of the day

1. How concerned should you be about an allergy to titanium metal.

One of the most advertised and emphasized property of the titanium metal is its hippoalergenity. The rise of titanium as dominant material in surgical instruments, primary and auxiliary medical devices and especially in internal implants, was directly related to its seemingly predominant lack of reaction with the human body.

I have explained in the main site what an allergic reaction really is. I’ve also explained how the design of titanium as a metal and its specific interaction mode with the surrounding environment makes the appearance of an allergy reaction to titanium very unlikely.

Yet, there are several reports of what seem like pure allergic reactions with titanium, with symptoms that closely resemble those of allergies to any other less spectacular metal, such as, let’s say, nickel. You should know that the statistical prevalence of nickel allergies in human population was a critical factor that led to stainless steel losing the race to titanium as main competitor in the medical field.

I know of these reports because I’ve received several of them from visitors of Titaniumexposed.com. The reported symptoms range from mere on and of itchiness to severe pain and generally sick feelings. More often than not, the intensity is severe enough to make the individual seek professional medical investigations in order to find a treatment.

There are some few thins you need to know if you believe you may be experiencing the symptoms of an allergic reaction to titanium. First, note that the prevalence of true titanium metal allergy is estimated by medical studies at about 0.6% of the population (compared to the approximate 15% that exhibit nickel sensitivity). Second, most of the incidence of reported Ti allergy has been to either titanium particles in the lungs or dermal contact to titanium alloys.

In conclusion, since the incidence is so very low, routine testing and concern are not warranted unless you have a past history of metallic allergy, or if you have or planning to follow a surgical procedure involving a titanium based implant – either a dental implant, a reconstructive surgery procedure involving titanium screws, plates or clamps or an internal pacemaker.

Even so, before deciding to follow a course of treatment or investigation based on the assumption that you may be susceptible to titanium allergy, you must first thoroughly exclude all other possibilities that may be the cause of the symptoms you experience.

You must also keep in mind that the only medical test that claims to determine the susceptibility of a titanium allergy reaction (Melisa) actually measures the activability (sensibility) of lymphocytes increased activability is not always equivalent and hence it is not classified as an allergy.

For example, the success of a titanium dental implant is critically related to the preliminary work, involving the treatment of periodontitis or other infections in the oral cavity. Always be wary if the dental practitioner immediately moves toward implantation. Ask for a second opinion if necessary and always make sure that all the other problems you may have are addressed before the actual implant procedure. Otherwise you may lose your implant as quickly as you got it.

There are also some critical factors regarding the success of titanium implants used for bone reconstruction, referring to the difference in the handling of mechanical stress by the implant and the adjoining bone support that also leads to success or failure of such implants. But this is such a complex and intricate field that is best left for a future issue.

2. New titanium applications

Titan Spine, a medical device surface technology company focused on the development of innovative spinal interbody fusion implants, announced today that it has received CE Mark Certification to commercially release its line of Endoskeleton® lumbar interbody fusion devices in Europe. The implants, which consist of the Endoskeleton® TA (ALIF), Endoskeleton® TT (TLIF), and Endoskeleton® TO (PLIF and Oblique), feature a unique roughened titanium surface topography that is designed to promote rapid bony integration and subsequent fusion. The company plans to immediately begin conducting surgical cases within the European Union.


3. Titanium joke of the day

After finishing an especially demanding batch of titanium sponge to process, two factory workers are talking. The woman says, "I can make the boss give me the day off." The man replies, "And how would you do that?" The woman says, "Just wait and see." She then hangs upside-down from the ceiling. The boss comes in and says, "What are you doing?" The woman replies, "I'm a light bulb." The boss then says, "You've been working so much that you've gone crazy. I think you need to take the day off." The man starts to follow her and the boss says, "Where are you going?" The man says, "I'm going home, too. I can't work in the dark."

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