A forum participant asked:
please discuss 316l and implant grade 316lvm grade stainless steel
They added a link to an essay titled
“Body Jewelry Materials. Understanding Implant Grade Surgical Steel“
The easy answer:
Neither are surgical implant materials. These are engineering specifications.
*AISI and SAE do not establish standards for biocompatibility.
More detail: ASTM ? ANSI ? ISO ?
One thing to know is that ISO and ASTM are both international organizations for standards, but ISO is restricted to members of national standards bodies such as ANSI. Individuals or companies cannot become ISO members.
ASTM members are comprised of representatives of both government and stakeholders in related business, such as me. I joined ASTM in the mid 1990’s to represent the needs and learn more about the responsibilities of the body piercing business, and have been able to attend conferences, contribute my research based evaluations and vote for standards that affect us as body artists.
ISO voting is done for the USA by ANSI. ASTM makes recommendations to ANSI. ANSI has typically voted in accordance with the recommendations of the ASTM.
ASTM F04 and ISO TC 150 have merged to facilitate the flow of information.
The 2013 update that my ASTM F04.12 committee just voted to approve for the most common steel alloy for surgical implant is also most the commonly used for body jewelry, F138.
ASTM F138-13a specifies chemical, mechanical and metallurgical refinements for 316 series steel alloys for surgical implant. It doesn’t really matter if the material is 316L, 316LVM, etc. The material is only acceptable for body jewelry when specified for human surgical implant and validated for this purpose to a peer reviewed scientific standard such as ASTM or ISO provides. AISI/SAE
As an aside: I don’t personally use steel alloy jewelry for initial piercings. I prefer pure unalloyed metals or simpler alloys with a greater margin of safety and less reactivity in the body.