Nitinol is commonly used in medical implants due to its unique thermomechanical properties of shape memory and superelasticity. Free nickel has the potential to induce biological responses that may be a concern for permanent implants manufactured from nickel-containing alloys. Although there are extensive reports on the effects of surface treatments on corrosion behavior in cardiovascular Nitinol implants, there is a lack of data on corrosion resistance and impact on biocompatibility for ocular implants. Therefore, the objective of this study was to determine localized corrosion and nickel elution resistance of an electropolished Nitinol-based ocular device (Hydrus Microstent, Ivantis, Inc.) intended for patients with primary open angle glaucoma. Pitting corrosion susceptibility was characterized by potentiodynamic polarization testing per ASTM F2129. In addition, nickel ion release was quantified with immersion testing to 63 days. The results indicated high localized corrosion resistance as all samples reached polarization potentials of 800 mV without pitting initiation. Maximum nickel elution rates per device were less than approximately 1.1 ng/device/day after the first day of immersion and reduced to less than 0.1 ng/device/day after 7 days. For a patient with bilateral microstents, these nickel concentrations are ×10,000 lower than previously published tolerable intake levels for systemic toxicity. Overall, these corrosion results are in good agreement with literature values of well processed and biocompatible Nitinol devices indicating adverse systemic biological responses are not expected in vivo.
© 2020 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.