Why Stainless Steel Is Used in the Medical Field

Updated on October 5, 2020
Why Stainless Steel Is Used in the Medical Field

Medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies require some of the strictest hygiene and performance guidelines to ensure optimal functioning and safety. For this reason, stainless steel products are commonly used, as they’re reliable and durable. Here are a few reasons why stainless steel is used in the medical field.  


Instruments susceptible to corrosion and rust are dangerous to use in medical operations because they increase the likelihood of disease and infection contraction. Stainless steel doesn’t corrode during sterilization or high heat procedures like other materials.   

High Sanitization Standards  

Stainless steel has one of the highest levels of cleanliness, and it requires less sanitization than most materials to stay sterile. It’s very hard for bacteria to adhere to and survive, limiting the amount of bacteria present.  

When properly cleaned and maintained, stainless steel surfaces reduce biohazards that can cause disease and infection. The ability to easily clean stainless surfaces make it a top contender for strict hygiene conditions required by medical buildings and practices.  This is when the value and importance of infection control measures become undeniable playing a huge role in the medical sphere.   

Structural Durability  

Stainless steel is used in industries such as construction and the military to adhere to their need for strong, durable products. The medical field is no exception to the need for durable products. Items such as sinks, wheelchairs, clamps, and orthopedic implants can all be made of stainless steel for optimal strength and weight-bearing.   

Grades of Stainless Steel in the Medical Field  

Aside from the reasons why stainless steel should be used in the medical field, there are many grades and types of stainless steel that are particularly well-suited for the job. Here are a few grades of stainless steel used in the medical field:   

Grade 17-4PH  

This precipitation-hardening, martensitic stainless steel is used when high strength and toughness are required. The heat treatment process can manipulate the strength and toughness, making the material well-suited for manufacturing surgical equipment.  

Grade 304  

This versatile, nonmagnetic stainless steel with a low carbon content and high corrosion-resistance is used throughout the industry. Uses for grade 304 stainless steel include orthopedic implants, precision instruments, artificial heart valves, sinks, trays, needles, and knives.  

Grade 316  

Grade 316 is the second-most common stainless steel grade behind Grade 304. Grade 316 has a higher resistance to chemicals and corrosion.

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