316LVM ASTM F-138
The term Surgical Stainless Steel is sometimes used to describe a piece of jewelry, implant, or other steel item meant for implant in the human body. Unfortunately, the term "surgical stainless steel" does not imply or guarantee that the steel is "implant-grade."
The "implant-grade" standard for any steel device, or piece of jewelry in the case of body modification, is also referred to as 316LVM ASTM F-138. This is to indicate that the jewelry is 316-stainless steel, L = low carbon content, VM = vacuum melted (or vacuum-arc remelted). This process elimiates airborne contaminants and other inclusions from adhering to the surface of the jewelry.
The ASTM, an acronym for American Society for Testing and Materials, is now known as ASTM International. ASTM International is the source for technical standards for materials, products, systems, and services.
ASTM F138-03, "Standard Specification for Wrought 18 Chromium-14 Nickel-2.5 Molybdenum Stainless Steel Bar and Wire for Surgical Implants (UNS S31673)," ASTM International. For referenced ASTM standards, visit the ASTM website, www.astm.org, or contact ASTM Customer Service at [email protected] For Annual Book of ASTM Standards volume information, refer to the standard's Document Summary page on the ASTM website.