Osteotome Fracture

Technical Challenge

An osteotome unexpectedly failed during a plastic surgery operation.  Veryst was hired to explain the failure. 

Broken Osteotome End
Broken osteotome end

Veryst Solution

Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) of the fracture surface showed intergranular corrosion at the cutting surface.  A review of the hospital’s sterilization procedures revealed the use of an alkaline cleaner specifically contraindicated for the alloy used in the osteotome, as its use could weaken the material.  Identification of the cleaning issue enabled the prevention of similar failures in other osteomes of the same alloy.


Osteotome--SEM of Broken End
SEM image of a broken osteotome end

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