Shape memory alloys: Metallurgy, biocompatibility, and biomechanics for neurosurgical applications

Daniel J. Hoh, Brian L. Hoh, Arun P. Amar, Michael Y. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


SHAPE MEMORY ALLOYS possess distinct dynamic properties with particular applications in neurosurgery. Because of their unique physical characteristics, these materials are finding increasing application where resiliency, conformation, and actuation are needed. Nitinol, the most frequently manufactured shape memory alloy, responds to thermal and mechanical stimuli with remarkable mechanical properties such as shape memory effect, super- elasticity, and high damping capacity. Nitinol has found particular use in the biomedical community because of its excellent fatigue resistance and biocompatibility, with special interest in neurosurgical applications. The properties of nitinol and its diffusionless phase transformations contribute to these unique mechanical capabilities. The features of nitinol, particularly its shape memory effect, superelasticity, damping capacity, as well as its biocompatibility and biomechanics are discussed herein. Current and future applications of nitinol and other shape memory alloys in endovascular, spinal, and minimally invasive neurosurgery are introduced. An understanding of the metallurgic properties of nitinol provides a foundation for further exploration of its use in neurosurgical implant design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)ons199-ons214
Issue numberSUPPL. 5
StatePublished - May 1 2009


  • Endovascular
  • Implants
  • Materials science
  • Metallurgy
  • Minimally invasive
  • Nitinol
  • Shape memory alloys
  • Smart materials
  • Spinal instrumentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery


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