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Surgical steel was originally invented for making surgical instruments, due to the extremely durable materials found in this metal. As the use of surgical steel became more prevalent, other items were made from this metal, such as medical identification bracelets, implants, dental instruments and cosmetic implements. High-end cookware can also be made of surgical stainless steel, as this metal resists corrosion and scratches. The solidity of surgical stainless steel makes it a good choice for body piercing jewelry, although some individuals experience a reaction to the nickel that is used. Garden tools are sometimes made with surgical steel, because the major components of chromium and molybdenum offer impenetrability and resistance to rust.
Dental and medical forceps are two common instruments made from surgical steel. In dentistry, the forceps are used for extracting teeth, as the surgical steel properties provide the strength and weight necessary to perform dental procedures. Other types of forceps made with surgical stainless steel are eye forceps, used in ophthalmology practice, and post-mortem forceps, used in performing an autopsy. Piercing forceps made with the same metal are often used for lip, tongue and navel piercing procedures.
Medical identification (ID) bracelets are often made from surgical stainless steel and are worn by individuals with food and drug allergies or medical conditions. The medical ID bracelet has a list of the person's allergies, medical conditions and contact information engraved onto the metal, as a warning to emergency responders. In addition to medical ID bracelets, medical ID necklaces made from surgical stainless steel are also worn. Emergency medical ID bracelets and necklaces may be ordered online through a specialty company.
While it is common to find cookware such as pots and pans made from stainless steel, some varieties are made with surgical steel. Most pots and pans that are made with surgical stainless steel also incorporate aluminum alloys. Cookware labeled as five-ply 304 steel has a higher concentration of chromium than its counterpart 316, making it somewhat more durable. The 316 surgical stainless steel however, incorporates a higher density of nickel for high polish and shine. Surgical stainless steel also provides the element of steam control to ensure even cooking and a non-burning surface.
Many online stores and specialty jewelry shops sell body piercing jewelry made from surgical steel. Jewelry items in simple designs made for eyebrow, tongue, lip or navel piercings are often constructed of surgical stainless steel. Some styles are known as barbell designs, while others are twisted or cone-shaped. Most styles of body piercing jewelry are constructed of 316L surgical steel properties, the same grade used for making medical implants.