Implant Materials

Squeaky, squeaky. The sound you dont mind from your dogs chew toy, but not from your surgically implanted hardware. Thankfully, that sound is not what you will hear because you actually wont hear anything, not even the airport metal detectors.
There are several types of surgically implanted hardware that you might expect a Podiatrist to utilize: pins, screws, or plates. The type of hardware used will depend on what type of problem your physician is trying to fix. In some cases the problem requires the use of several different types of hardware.

Pins (aka K-Wire) are almost like skewers that are used to stabilize anatomic structures. These pins are not the strongest type of hardware used, but do serve a valuable purpose when used correctly. Most of the time these pins are removed at a later point in time.

Screws structurally, they are stronger than k-wires and they also provide compression which k-wires do not. Insertion is a little more involved. Most of the time screws are left in place unless they become painful.

Plates there are many different functions of a plate depending on what your physician is trying to accomplish. Plates are added when screws/pins alone are not enough to adequately repair and stabilize the problem at hand.

Most people are concerned about the potential of setting off metal detectors. This is of no concern with todays implants. Most implants are made of either Titanium OR Stainless Steel. You also dont have to worry about a reaction to the metal itself. A very small percentage, and I mean very small, have a reaction to the components in the implant. The most likely reaction will come from the Nickel component within stainless steel materials.

So, the next time your physician tells you that you will need pins, screws, or plates implanted within your foot/ankle, have no fear you will not become RoboCop.

If you have any foot/ankle related complaints that need attending to, please call Dr. Bowman at 713-467-8886 or visit

Category: Surgery

Tags: Foot Surgery, Implants