The history of Titanium, its discovery, production via the Kroll Process and its properties are well known documented. How it made its way into the world of medicine and use in Titanium medical implants is less well known.
It wasn’t until fairly recent history, and the accidental discovery by Per-Ingvar Branemark that titanium was identified as an ideal material for use in medical implants.
In 1964 Whilst researching micro-circulation of blood in rabbits Branemark noticed that the camera used to to observe the blood, that was made of titanium had fused itself with the bone structure. A phenomenon he later referred and named osseointegration.
Branemark recognized the significance of the observation and went on to dedicate the subsequent years working on titanium osseointegrated prostheses publishing the ground breaking paper Intra-Osseous Anchorage of Dental Prostheses:I. Experimental Studies in 1969 which detailed the intra-osseous titanium tube implants to restore masticatory function in dogs.
Subsequent research lead the development of titanium structures for human implants as prosthesis for jaw bones. In 1982 Branemark published the details of the clinical trials for a 10 year period which demonstrated a success rate of 97%. This was the catalyst for the international scientific community recognition and the start of the revolution of medical use titanium.