1. Style
Send to a Friend via Email

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:


was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

Most Emailed Articles

Baby Word Scramble

You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.
mybodyart writes: "What, if any, is the big difference between surgical and stainless steel? anybody know? i am having a difficult time finding the ones that i need to wear in my ears."

Do you know the answer to this question? See what our experts have to say and feel free to join the discussion.


April 24, 2008 at 11:22 am
(1) Tiffi says:

Well, surgical steel is made from stainless steel, so I don’t think it matters which one you use, really. But that’s just me.

May 5, 2008 at 9:25 am
(2) John says:

There is no such thing as surgical steel. It is a name made up by people who do not know the differences in grades of steel. 316L and 316 LVM are often mistakenly called surgical steel. They refer to the grade and that it was in a Liquid (L) Vaccume (V) Mold (M). 316 LVM is implant grade steel that can be used by medical professionals for either implants or the tools that they use. I suppose this is how surgical steel became the popular nomeclature

July 16, 2008 at 12:21 pm
(3) Vic says:

Surgical stainless steel is an alloy of iron and carbon, with chromium (1220%), molybdenum (0.23%), and nickel (812%).
The chromium forms a passivation layer of oxide when exposed to oxygen (air). The layer is too thin to be visible, which means that the metal remains lustrous. The oxide provides an impervious barrier to water and air, protecting the metal beneath thus the metal remains lusturous

This “implant grade steel” as John calls it, is not impervious to degeneration and it would be best called “stain less” steel. Mixtures of these metals are used for short term medical implants but are not considered for longer term (20 to 30 years). In cases where the implants are to be “permanent”, titanium alloys are preferred.

Titanium is a reactive metal, the surface of which alost instantly oxidizes on exposure to air, creating a microstructured stable oxide surface. This provides a surface into which bone can grow and adhere in orthopaedic implants but which is incorrodible after implant. Thus “surgical steel” may be used for temporary implants and the more expensive titanium for permanent ones.
Its inertness and ability to be attractively colored also makes it a popular metal for use in body piercing. Titanium when anodized produces various colors and is used by some artists from sculptures and other decorative objects to furniture.

Because your question was what should you wear in your ears, you could choose either. The titanium would just cost you an arm if not a leg….

July 25, 2009 at 12:36 pm
(4) Ana says:

Hi which of the two ( steel ) or ( Titanium )
is the best for jewellery.

February 3, 2010 at 12:20 pm
(5) John says:

The term “surgical steel” is marketing hype used by those who, presumably, wish to attach a loaded word to make their product more impressive. The fact is, there is no such material as “surgical steel” It is a stainless steel much like the kind used to make hubcaps, sinks, cookware, flatware, and sinks. Perhaps it should be called, “cookware steel” No—- just doesn’t have the sales producing sound the “surgical” has.

September 21, 2010 at 12:17 pm
(6) Joan says:

I’m trying to buy a medical alert bracelet which is best stainless or surgical stainless or stainless steel

February 5, 2010 at 3:30 pm
(7) Ian says:

UNS S31603 stainless steel verses
UNS S31673 surgical stainless steel.
Mostly its a nickel issue; surgical stainless has a higher content for strength.

July 7, 2010 at 12:35 pm
(8) Jason says:

Actually there IS a slight difference, but not much.

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.