Lea Dow: April 2011 Archives

If you have an allergy to metals like nickel allergy, you might be at a loss as to which metal is safe to use for personal accessories.  NoNickel can help with finding the correct nickel free belt, buckle, watch, ring etc. But what metal is safe for hip replacements and endovascular stents? 

Titanium has long been thought of by physicians as a "safe" metal.  According to Fisher's Contact Dermatitis Book, "Documented allergy to titanium is exceedingly rare, so if tests to other metals are positive titanium is as safe an alternative as possible."

Personal Accessories 
For personal accessories, titanium is a great choice if you have multiple metal allergies or are unsure of the specific metal/alloy you are allergic.  Titanium is extremely strong and incredibly lightweight. Pure titanium is as strong as many forms of steel, and 45% lighter!   

Titanium can be polished to a luster and is corrosion-resistant--perfect for eye glass frames, belts, buckles, watches, and rings.  

There are at least 50 grades of titanium.   Titanium is often alloyed with iron, aluminum, vanadium, molybdenum, nickel, among other elements, to produce strong lightweight alloys for aerospace, military, industrial, automotive, and medical industries.  

Nickel Smart™ Titanium products are not alloyed with nickel! 

Bio Medical Devices 
A favored titanium alloy in the medical field is the combination of nickel and titanium because of the strength and great shape memory properties the alloy has.  For example, orthodontic wires and endovascular stents are often made with the ni-ti alloy.  Although, extremely rare, some individuals may react to the metals used bio-medical devices such as nickel.  Current data suggests a metal allergy may increase the risk of stent restenosis. 

What should you do?

  1. Be pro-active! Tell all your health care providers that you have or suspect a nickel or metal allergy.
  2. Dermatologists or allergists specialized in patch testing can diagnosis what specific metal(s) you are allergic to. 
  3. Alternatives are available for most devices including the nickel-titanium alloys.
  4. When a procedure is required, verify that the metal(s) you are allergic to are not in the device being implanted especially if an alloy is being used.
  5. Remember a reaction is extremely rare, but be proactive.

 Titanium was discovered in England in 1771 and named for the Titans of Greek mythology.

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