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Titanium implant's life expectancy?

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Rusty Shackleford, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. Rusty Shackleford

    Rusty Shackleford Active Member

    So when I was a teenager, I broke my wrist badly. I had a metal plate and some screws inserted. After the cast came off and a few months of physical therapy, I was fine. I've been fine ever since (that was about 15 years ago).

    I just read an article though that said that the average lifetime of medical-grade titanium in the human body is only about 20 years. Does anybody know anything about this? Nobody ever told me this titanium in my arm might rot away or something, and I've searched Google and found only article pertaining to dental implants.

    Anyone here experienced anything similar?
  2. jackfinarelli

    jackfinarelli Member

    I am not a medical doctor.

    My understanding of surgical implants is that the lifetime is far more dependent on the amount of stress that the implant experiences than it is on the stability of the material in the implant.

    In other words, a titanium knee should not last as long as a titanium elbow in about anyone who is not a major league pitcher. Every step you take stresses the titanium knee; the titanium elbow tends to experience lots more periods of "quiet".

    I don't think you have to worry about the titanium "rotting away"; that might take a whole lifetime. The question is the degree to which the titanium implant is able to continue to function as it was intended to function after the stress of however many years.

    An simple X-Ray exam might shed light on the mechanical integrity of the implant...
  3. charice78

    charice78 New Member

    I have a cousin who is undergoing rehab after he broke his leg. I'm not really sure if it was titanium or anything else that was introduced to his body, but he said that it should last a life time. But then you had yours 15 years ago, so the quality of the material may have changed? Just a thought.
  4. Quiet Man

    Quiet Man Member

    Oh, titanium implants. Never mind.
  5. HandsomeHarley

    HandsomeHarley Well-Known Member

    I have a Titanium rod holding my L5 and S1 vertebra together in my back. It's been there about 5 years.

    I was told it would last a lifetime. I'm more worried about the screws and bone than I am the rod.
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