Titanium rods can be composed of pure titanium or a mixture of pure titanium and other alloys. Rods are commonly used in medicine as bone replacements, especially in orthopedic surgeries. There are many great natural properties titanium has that make it perfect for medicinal uses.
Titanium rods are one of the many implants that are used in medicine. Other titanium implant products include pins, bone plates, screws, bars, wires, posts, expandable rib cages, spinal fusion cages, finger and toe replacements, and maxio-facial prosthetics. Rods can be used in some of these cases. Sockets, joints, or severely broken bones can be replaced with titanium implants.
Depending on what a patient surgically needs, the ends of titanium rods can be threaded or hooked. The injuries will help dictate what kind of titanium rod is needed. The differences in rods include stability and flexibility.
Replacing a bone in the leg, for example, requires titanium alloys. Titanium alloys allow the rod to be supportive and stiff. This is meant to mimic a natural bone. Pure titanium is flexible. This kind of rod has to be formed into a certain shape that mimics the bone it is replacing before it is implanted.
The majority of patients need titanium alloy rods that are stiff. These kinds of rods have a high friction rate, so rubbing against other titanium rods need to be avoided. Children who require orthopedic surgery use an expanding titanium rod.
Since an expanding rod has the ability to grow with the child, they are used most often in the case of orthopedic surgeries. Expanding titanium rods should only be used to replace large bones in the body, but are used as much as possible as a bone replacement or supporter.
Expanding rods made of titanium have ability to naturally osseointegrate. Like all titanium, osseointegration is a naturally occurring process where bone and tissue bond to the implant without persuasion. This allows the implant to be locked into place permanently.
For children, an expanding rod is attached to the joints to allow osseointegration to occur. It becomes a permanent fixture in the body and allows the rod to grow with the bone as the child grows. This reduces the chance that future surgeries need to occur since the rod has the ability to grow with the child into adulthood.
Non-expanding rods are also used in surgeries and can also undergo osseointegration. When it comes to people who are still growing, like children, the non-expanding rods will need to be continually replaced through multiple surgeries. A non-expanding rod will prevent the body from naturally growing. A child’s growth can be stunted if the rod is not replaced continuously.
Titanium is non-ferromagnetic, meaning radiation does not affect the metal. Patients with titanium in their bodies can safely have MRIs and NMRIs performed on them. Not being magnetic means that processes that involve magnets, like an MRI, does not affect the titanium. This means that medical instruments should be made out of titanium since it resists radiation.
The strength to weight ratio in titanium makes it perfect for rods and other titanium implants. It is durable because it is harder than steel, but patients will not feel like they are dragging their leg around. This is because titanium is extremely lightweight, making an implant feel like a bone.
Titanium is resistant to bacteria, infection, and body fluids. This resistance means that titanium will never corrode. A body will not reject a titanium implant, unless a person has a rare titanium allergy.
All of these qualities also means that titanium can last for decades in the body without any maintenance or repairs. The only time that titanium rods have to be surgically maintained is if a non-expanding rod is needed in children, as mentioned before.