Austenitic stainless steels find applications in medical devices where good corrosion resistance and moderate strength are required. For example, canulae, dental impression trays, guide pins, hollowware, hypodermic needles, steam sterilisers, storage cabinets and work surfaces, thoracic retractors, etc. These applications often require a material that is easily formed into complex shapes.

Martensitic stainless steels are used extensively for dental and surgical instruments. These stainless steels can be hardened and tempered by heat treatment. Thus, they are capable of developing a wide range of mechanical properties (i.e. high hardness for cutting instruments and lower hardness with increased toughness for load-bearing applications). For example, bone curettes, chisels and gouges, dental burs, dental chisels, curettes, explorers, root elevators and scalers, forceps, haemostats, retractors, orthodontic pliers, and scalpels.

Ferritic stainless steels, however, find few applications in medical devices. Examples are solid handles for instruments, guide pins and fasteners.