This article describes some of the mechanical/ electrochemical phenomena related to the in vivo degradation of metals used for biomedical applications. It discusses the properties and failure of these materials as they relate to stress-corrosion cracking (SCC) and corrosion fatigue (CF). The article presents the factors related to the use of surgical implants and their deterioration in the body environment, including biomedical aspects, chemical environment, and electrochemical fundamentals needed for characterizing CF and SCC. It provides a discussion on the use of metallic biomaterials in surgical implant applications, such as orthopedic, cardiovascular surgery, and dentistry. It addresses the key issues related to simulation of the in vivo environment, service conditions, and data interpretation. Theses include frequency of dynamic loading, electrolyte chemistry, applicable loading modes, cracking mode superposition, and surface area effects. The article describes the fundamentals of CF and SCC, testing methodology, and test findings from laboratory, in vivo, and retrieval studies.
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