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September 1968

Tissue Reaction to Plastic and Metal Implants

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Bronchoesophagology, Indiana University Medical Center, Indianapolis.

Arch Otolaryngol. 1968;88(3):283-287. doi:10.1001/archotol.1968.00770010285015

SEARCH for devices, materials, and techniques to repair or replace human tissue has been ever provocative, often discouraging, and never without controversy. The first record of metals used in the treatment of fractures began as a controversy when M. Pujol, writing in the French Surgical Journal in 1778, accused M. Eichart of having killed a patient by inserting a brass wire in a fracture of the arm. There was no litigation for malpractice or libel recorded in this case.

I will discuss very briefly tissue responses to polymers and metals and their chemical inertness.

Polymers  There are two opposing concepts as to why polymers elicit sarcomas in rats at the site of their injection or placement. One faction states that the unbroken surface area of the implant, metal or plastic, provides a physical or nonspecific cause for carcinogenesis and notes that the latter is in direct relation to the surface