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What Are the Signs of an Allergic Reaction to Titanium?

By Marco Sumayao
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The signs most associated with an allergic reaction to titanium are those that are caused by a resulting condition, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). CFS is characterized by sudden and persisting bouts of tiredness, decreased mental faculties, and physical weakness. Since titanium is widely recognized as a biocompatible metal, there are few — if any — allergic symptoms caused by skin contact. The rashes, itching, and other adverse reactions might instead be due to other metals that are part of a titanium alloy, such as nickel. Scientists do not rule out the possibility of some individuals being allergic to titanium itself, however, as each person's biochemistry is unique.

People are most likely to develop an allergic reaction to titanium as a result of the corrosion of titanium dental and surgical implants. The corroded particles ionize and bind to proteins in the body, eventually leading to CFS. A patient suffering from an allergy might wake up one morning feeling inexplicably tired, regardless of how well he rested the previous night. The fatigue will persist for more than 24 hours and will not subside after periods of rest within the day. The tiredness can last for more than six months and could either be constant or recurring.

Patients might also find themselves getting easily confused or distracted, and they might also become more forgetful. These and other symptoms could worsen the patient's irritability, which is another symptom in itself. The impaired mental abilities are combined with and made worse by severe physical incapacity, which often prevents patients from going about their day-to-day activities. The symptoms are often accompanied by migraines and muscle pains.

Although titanium itself is generally accepted as a metal that has no harsh effects on the skin, many pieces of titanium jewelry contain traces of other metals that might cause a reaction. Patients with piercings could experience swelling in affected areas, as well as redness and hives. The symptoms might be mistakenly attributed to the dominant metal, titanium, in these cases. Some experts believe only 4% of the population suffers from a true titanium allergy.

In the event that any of these symptoms manifest, patients should immediately undergo allergy testing. The test should determine whether titanium or another trace metal is causing the allergic reactions. If the source of the symptoms is a metal implant on the body, the implant should be replaced with one made of materials that have been tested for safety on the patient. Preventing an allergic reaction might prove difficult, however, as many common foods and products contain trace amounts of the metal.

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Discussion Comments
By anon1006613 — On Apr 13, 2022

I have a positive Lymphocyte Transformation Test (LTT blood allergy test) showing I'm allergic to titanium and I have a history of reacting to titanium surgical clips, yet doctors will not help remove them from my body. They claim the risk outweighs the benefit. I'm freaking bedridden! I never consented to these clips to be implanted in my body.

By anon938936 — On Mar 11, 2014

What if you do not have a reaction to skin testing for titanium? What is the next step, especially if you are experiencing all the the symptoms? I had a metal titanium rod inserted in my leg and over the course of the year, I have experienced all of the symptoms and about eight abscesses in total. Please help.

By serenesurface — On Aug 08, 2013

Does titanium allergy also cause diarrhea, muscle aches and pain and seasonal allergy like symptoms?

By fify — On Aug 08, 2013

@alisha-- If you are allergic, the mesh will have to be replaced with one made of another metal. You can't possibly keep living like that, experiencing such severe allergic reactions.

Didn't you get tested for metal allergies before you had the implant? I thought that doctors have to do an allergy test before implant surgery.

If you do end up getting the mesh replaced, make sure that you are not allergic to the new metal. A skin patch test can be done for different metals. If you are allergic, your skin should show it in the form of redness or a rash.

By discographer — On Aug 07, 2013

I have an implant with a titanium mesh and I've been experiencing the symptoms mentioned here. I'm constantly tired, I can't concentrate and I can't remember anything. I almost feel like I'm developing Alzheimer's.

What's going to happen if my allergy test comes back positive?

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