The word "implant" should be banned from all discussion of body piercing except to illustrate the defining differences that relegates implantation a medical procedures. Body piercers should not be performing implants in a shop. A 20 year veteran of body piercing just does not qualify as the training for doing surgical implants.
Part of the subterfuge of the article involves the mixing in of "implant" grade stainless steel as if nothing less than implant grade were suitable. A little discussion of the physical properties of "implant" grade should quickly prove the absurdity when applied to body piercing jewelry.
11.4 Surgical Implants
The most common cause of failure is fatigue, especially corrosion fatigue that is initiated through crevice corrosion which arises at interfaces, for example, between the mating surfaces of a screw and a plate. An opportunity for body fluids to seep in here initiates pitting corrosion from which a crack can develop [ lack of oxygen to interact with chromium to form a protective layer ].... The inevitable alternation of stresses accentuated by any freedom of movement between the two surfaces is the ingredient promoting corrosion fatigue. (1999:256)
It is important that the steel be fully austenitic with fine grain size to enhance formability and mechanical properties. Inclusions must, of course, be minimal, a requirement best met by vacuum degassing [LVM processing]. (1999:256)
The surface of the implants must be meticulously finished with no tool marks, nicks, scratches, or embedded foreign matter. ... [this] reduces the potential area available to corrodents because of a finer finish. ... The metallurgical requirements and surface finish must be rigorously observed. (1999:257)
The reason for this "meticulous" care is that two pieces rub together, under loads and stresses, flexing, and moving countless numbers of times. The materials wear and particles rub off into the body.area surrounding the implant causing havoc.
Metal ions are released ... through inevitable corrosion reactions. Chromium and nickel in the tissue surrounding the implant increases measurably... (1999:257)
Shekhar Nath and Bikramjit Basu report on the work of Hierholzer et al. studying the corrosion behavior of elements in stainless steel having an allergic or carcinogenic effect, in infected fractures: "They observed that both the absolute concentration of the ions and the Ni:Cr ration in the tissues adjacent to stainless steel implants is greater in infected cases than in non-infected cases. Thus, infection as a cause of allergy has to be considered." (Advanced Biomaterials 2009:82
The implication may mean that previous episodes of having infection, at least in a location with N, ions, for example again, pierced ears with costume jewelry and a flare-up of an (easily treated) infection, may produce the Ni allergy.
One reason, beside superior corrosion resistance, Titanium alloys are sometimes chosen is based on better wear resistance replacing stainless steel for hip implants because the load applied at the hip causes greater wear. (1999:257
If there were a problem with 316L clusters of cases should be presented to highlight and illustrate the threat to consumer safety so that we all can see how they concluded that their position is valid and in the consumer interest. Where is the research referred to so that others can evaluate it. And concerning the consumer, in what ways does the user actually benefit?
Unimax used to purchase 316LVM products in the 90s
for resale but 316LVM jewelry stopped selling when externally
threaded 316L jewelry was produced efficiently, had a markedly lower price,
resolved threading issues, proved effective, was safe and accepted in
use as not causing problems.
At the time, Gauntlet was the most well known source
for jewelry, but there were
others who became major players, such as Wes Wood of Unimax Supply
Blanchard of Anatometal, Carey Brief of Rings and Things, Pierre
Thibault of Thibault Jewelry, MDM, Pleasurable Piercing, Pacific Piercing, Cathy of Atlantic and
artisans going store to store offering hand crafted new and innovative products made of
To this day, enthusiast practitioners of piercing who share the same desire to differentiate themselves and hold themselves apart from the "ordinary piercers" adopt the use and continue the arguments for 316LVM, mirror finish (legitimate as a fashion statement), and internal threading (illegitimate).
By the mid 90's when we began to contract internationally for jewelry the metal supplied was 316L because, which is true today as well, LVM was not affordably accessible in Asia, and still has to be imported from the UK resulting in a marked increase in cost without any benefits for the average consumer. Titanium body jewelry material is imported from the EU who have a lock on a supply route for Asian needs.