Journal of Failure Analysis and Prevention

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 3–9 | Cite as

Surgical Tool Failure Analyses

  • Eric P. GuyerEmail author
  • Brad A. James
Technical Article---Peer-Reviewed


The tools used during surgical procedures are an important component to clinical success. Innovative surgical tool designs have enabled more intricate and less-invasive procedures resulting in advanced procedures, reduced patient pain, and recovery time. Examples of surgical tools include drills, catheters, needles, cannulas, scissors, and so on. These tools are often subjected to corrosive environments, high stresses, high loading frequencies, sterilization, and/or cleaning procedures. Given the extreme use conditions to which surgical tools can be exposed, and the potential for misuse, these devices can and do fail. These failures often occur during a surgical procedure and therefore can compromise clinical success. Understanding how and why failures occur is an important first step to prevent their occurrence. Accordingly, this paper provides selected surgical tool failure case studies.


Corrosion Hydrogen embrittlement Medical device Failure analysis Stress corrosion cracking Surgical tool 


  1. 1.
    M.R. Louthan Jr, Hydrogen embrittlement of metals: a primer for the failure analyst. J. Fail. Anal. Prev. 8, 289–387 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    ASM Specialty Handbook, Stainless Steels, “Stress Corrosion Cracking and Hydrogen Embrittlement”, ASM International 1994, p. 198. Also see: Metals Handbook, “Failure Analysis and Prevention”, vol. 11, 1998, p. 217Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    S.L. Chawla, R.K. Gupta, Materials Selection for Corrosion Control (ASM International, Materials Park, 1993)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    R.M. Davison et al., Corrosion of Stainless Steels, ASM Handbook, vol. 13 (ASM International, Materials Park, 1998)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Nitronic 60 Brochure, High Performance Alloys, Inc.,

Copyright information

© ASM International 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Exponent, Failure Analysis Associates Inc.AtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Exponent, Failure Analysis Associates Inc.Menlo ParkUSA

Personalised recommendations