Insoluble tantalum salts are not absorbed by human body through oral or local injection, and the absorption of soluble tantalum salts by gastrointestinal tract is very small. Once tantalum enters the human body, the main carrier responsible for the removal of tantalum is phagocytes, which can survive and have no cell degeneration after 1 hour exposure to tantalum dust, accompanied by a significant increase in glucose oxidation. Under the same conditions, silica dust can cause serious cytoplasmic degeneration and death of phagocytes, which indicates that tantalum is non-cytotoxic. In 1940, pure tantalum was first used in orthopaedic medicine, and most reports showed that no adverse reactions were found when tantalum metal was used as human implant.
Medical application of tantalum
Tantalum has good ductility and can be made into filaments comparable to or even finer than hair. Ta wire as surgical suture has the advantages of simple sterilization, less stimulation and high tension resistance, but it also has the disadvantage of not easy knotting. Tantalum wire can be used for suturing bone, tendon, fascia, tension-reducing suture or dental fixation in oral cavity. It can also be used as a suture for visceral surgery or embedded in artificial eyeballs. Tantalum can even replace tendons and nerve fibers. Xu Hao et al. reported 33 cases of patellar fracture treated with tantalum wire ring ligation and internal fixation. During the follow-up period of 5 months to L6 years, except 2 cases with mild traumatic arthritis, 31 cases achieved good results without complications.
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