Knowing about the types of metals from which instruments are made is important for knowing which instruments

1- Are ideal for specific uses
2- Can be repaired or should be replaced.

Most surgical instruments are made from austenitic or martensitic stainless steel.

Austenitic (Non-Magnetic)

Austenitic (Non-Magnetic) stainless steel (also known as 300 series stainless steel) is most often used to make retractors and suction tips. This stainless steel is unique because it is malleable.

Martensitic (Magnetic)

Martensitic (Magnetic) stainless steel (also known as 400 series stainless steel) is much harder and, therefore, better suited for instruments that must maintain a precise cutting edge or tolerate more stress during use. Instruments such as scissorsneedle holders, chisels, osteotomes, rongeurs, and hemostats are commonly made of martensitic stainless steel.

Tungsten carbide

Tungsten carbide is an exceedingly strong, durable metal used to make the highest quality surgical instruments, which are recognizable by their gold-colored handles. Commonly used only on the inner jaws of needle holders or the cutting edge of scissors, tungsten carbide strengthens these surfaces and retains a sharp edge the other parts of these instruments are usually made of stainless steel. Being able to determine which instruments have tungsten carbide is important because they can usually be repaired rather than replaced. A proactive approach to instrument care and repair can save clinics money by avoiding or delaying instrument replacement.