The Corrosion of Surgical Implants

  • Rosemary Wilkinson

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


A study of implant corrosion has been undertaken. The work
fell into two parts, the first consisted of an examination of
contact corrosion on approximately four hundred used implants.
Further information on these implants was obtained from the vee
conducted by Dr. J. T. Scales of the Royal National Orthopaedic
Hospital, Stanmore. The observations were then subjected to
multi-variate statistical with two objects, to assess any factors
which may lead to an increased incidence of corrosion and to
discover if any factors lead to an increased rate of removal of

Several implants were then examined in the scanning electron
microscope and a possible mechanism for contact corrosion of
stainless steel implants is presented.

The later part of the work is concerned with the in vitro
testing of materials to assess their possible value in surgery.
The effect of surface finish and cathodic activation on potentiostatic
polarisation tests on stainless steel are described. Test
procedures to evaluate the sensitivity of alloys to surface damage
have been developed.

Finally the significance of the results has been assessed and
suggestions made for further research.
Date of Award1972
Original languageEnglish


  • corrosion
  • surgical implants

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