Stainless Steel versus Surgical Steel

Metal science advances the applications of stainless steel in the business industry. Unique differences in stainless steel grades are creating opportunities for the expansion of engineering in medical industries. Biomedical engineering scopes for use of stainless steel in various implants, instruments, and surgical devices. Choosing the best stainless steel grade is an essential step in the development of material.



Stainless steel is an amalgamation of iron and carbon.

The main alloying elements include chromium, nickel, and molybdenum. The content of alloys varies in different grades; chromium holds a minimum of 11% by weight. Chromium makes stainless steel corrosion resistance.


The most common stainless steel grades are Ferritic, Austenitic, Martensitic, and Duplex stainless steel.


Stainless steel offers abundant applications because of its versatile properties. Various exceptional properties such as strength, corrosion resistance, formability, hardness, weldability, and heat resistance make stainless steel a preferential choice worldwide.


Stainless steel is widely used in commercial food processing equipment, kitchen utensils, chemical storage and manufacturing, surgical equipment, marine use, appliance, etc.




Surgical steel is stainless steel used in biomedical devices and instruments. Stainless steel equipped with high levels of corrosion resistance is designated for biomedical use. Surgical steel is composed of 2-3% molybdenum and provides greater corrosion resistance.

Some widely accepted grade includes Austenitic 316, Martensitic 440, and Martenistic 420.316L and 316 LVM are implanting grades. These grades are appropriate for manufacturing human implants.


316L is a low carbon version of 316.316 LVM is a low carbon vacuum melted. The vacuum restricts air to contaminate the metal molecules and results in consistency in steel.



Surgical steel is mainly used in biomedical applications. It is used in the production of surgical instruments like forceps, needle holders, retractors, surgical tools, etc. Surgical steel is also used in orthopedic and dental implant devices.


Properties of surgical steel

  1. Surgical steel is hypoallergenic and can be used with sensitive skin.
  2. It posses aesthetic value
  3. It offers higher corrosion resistance.
  4. Used in biomedical devices, surgery equipment, and body jewelry.


Difference between stainless steel and surgical steel


Surgical steel is a type of stainless steel, but all stainless steel are not surgical steel.


  1. Surgical steel is made up of stainless steel grades, whereas stainless steel is composed of iron, carbon, and chromium, with various alloying agents.


  1. Surgical steel is used for mainly biomedical applications. Stainless steel is used in the food industry, marine industry, processing, transporting, etc


  1. Surgical steel is available in austenitic and martenistic stainless steel. On the contrary stainless steel is available in Ferritic, Austenitic, Martensitic, and Duplex stainless steel.


To conclude, stainless steel is a generic term. It constitutes several grades and offers a broad range of applications. Surgical steel is one type of stainless steel that offers biomedical applications.

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