Titanium – ?Possible side effects

Original Question: ‘Some years ago I had a Titanium plate put in my arm after a severe break. The bones have healed well but the plate is still in place. I have been wondering whether leaving the plate in my arm in the long term can cause side effects, because although I have been told that Titanium is inert in the body I have been getting strange itchy sensations on the back of my hands.
Have you come across any information on this subject?’

……….I wondered about this myself some years ago when I encountered a young lady who had recently had a Titanium plate inserted in her leg. Very shortly afterward she became covered in psoriasis which previously she had not had.
It could of course been a stress reaction of the body but I couldn’t be sure.

I have also seen referrals to studies that suggest that particulate (tiny particles) titanium may cause health problems either at the site overlying the implant or in more distant organs such as lungs and lymph nodes, particularly after some time of frictional wear.

The only actual study I have come across that attempted to prove this was carried out on sheep (poor things) and reported in the Australian Dental Journal 2002.The conclusion of this report was that there was no significant release of Titanium particles in the short term but there were some longer term trends that indicated that there could be an increase of debris after longer periods, particularly in the lungs.

I have not seen any further reports of this type, most back up the theory that Titanium is inert in the body.

There are a number of reports of suspected reactions to Titanium contained in sunscreens, however these could well be reactions to other constituents of the sunscreen.

I have also seen accumulations of Titanium in hair samples taken from people using either sunscreens or other skin products containing Titanium, but I guess this could be seen as an indication that the body rids itself of excess quite efficiently.

  • Anonymous

    My Sister fell and broke her legs about 7 years ago, It was a double compound fracture. They put titanium rods and screws in her leg, the lasy three years she has been getting these sores all over her body and she aches all over and is tired all the time. She still has pain in her leg if she has to be upright for long periods. She believes it is the titanium causing the problem?? Do you know if it could possibly be the titanium???

  • Judith Hensure

    my daughter has had 3 degenarating discs causing her chronic back pain for years since she was 20 3 years ago she had a titanium cage in her back to support the crumbling discs. since the she has been complaining of a heavy weight in her back she is still unable to walk without the support of crutches Q; Has the titanium any thing to do with this heavy feeling and will this affect her chances of having children.

    • AlisonOdey

      In my opinion I feel that the heavy feeling in her back is most likely due to either lumbar nerve impairment or to extreme muscle tension in this area. I don’t feel that it has anything directly due to the titanium itself. A titanium cage shouldn’t affect her chances of having children, however lumbar nerve impairment may well make a pregnancy rather uncomfortable.

  • E.Melo

    I wouldn’t be a bit surprised! Metal plates within the body release minute particles that travel within the lymph and blood and end up lodging in our organs and eventually cause damage…some people are more sensitive than others.

    Accumulation in Liver and Spleen of Metal Particles Generated at Nonbearing Surfaces
    in Hip Arthroplasty

    I downloaded the PDF for easier reading

    Just lost my super fit & healthy 47 year old sister to cancer and she had a titanium plate on her ankle for at least 7 years…from my readings I am more & more convinced that the titanium destroyed her; her liver was super destroyed and she always lived a super clean life without drugs, alcohol or junk food…

    • Airemon

      As a person with several titanium bars, pins and screws as skeletal reinforcements for the last 20 years I would be inclined to think that your sister’s cancer was not a side effect of her plate in her ankle but as someone stated earlier some are more sensitive than others but if even one case in a 1000 ended with cancer as a side effect from the implants I doubt titanium’s use would be as wide spread as it is, as that would be a very open invitation to sue anyone who ever used them.

      • E.Melo

        You’re right, my brother also had some titanium hardware which he had removed a few years ago, but since everyone reacts differently to everything I still think that my sisterĀ“s severe liver damage had something to do with the titanium; I have found medical articles stating that the metallic debris travels through the lymph and to the organs, my sister was extremely active, a runner & personal trainer, the hardware was in her ankle! And yes, some people would not be functional without their metal hardware! Have a great summer

  • E.Melo

    http://fliphtml5.com/wkxr/jyrz/basic this is the link, you might have to register to be able to download the PDF and read it better.

  • Monica Du Plessis Holdsworth

    I had a tiny 1mm titanium screw put into my pinkie the day before Christmas as I broke a small bone.
    Within a week I started feeling very tired, waking up later every day. I developed cysts under my arm. I also started feeling like I had arthritis in my hip. I started getting bladder infection and virginal infection. I was getiing one cyst after the other. My eczema returned (since changing to a healthy lifestyle I have not had it for over 3 years.
    After 3 months I tried to figure out what has changed and worked out that it must be the screw
    I went back to the doctor who laughed at me. I told him to remove the screw. He booked me in and I researched the possibility of titanium poisining. It’s been six months and I am still suffering from cysts under my arm and ezcema. I believe ny body will recover soon, but want to warn others to check before getting titanium implants.