The metal has a long implant history, from neuroscience, vascular medicine, radiography, orthopaedics, prosthodontics, and various other fields, primarily as a result of its high density, radiopacity, tensile strength, and yield point. However, a crucial material criterion for chronically implanted metals is their long-term resistance to corrosion in body fluids, either by inherently noble metallic surfaces, or by protective passivation layers of metal oxide. The latter is often assumed for elemental tungsten, with references to its 'inertness' and 'stability' common in the literature. This review argues that in the body, metallic tungsten fails this criterion, and will eventually dissolve into the soluble hexavalent form W6+, typically represented by the orthotungstate ${\rm WO}_{4}^{2-}$  (monomeric tungstate) anion. This paper outlines the metal's unfavourable corrosion thermodynamics in the human physiological environment, the chemical pathways to either metallic or metal oxide dissolution, the rate-limiting steps, and the corrosion-accelerating effects of reactive oxidising species that the immune system produces post-implantation.

Multiple examples of implant corrosion have been reported, with failure by dissolution to varying extents up to total loss, with associated emission of tungstate ions and elevated blood serum levels measured. The possible toxicity of these corrosion products has also been explored.

As the field of medical implants grows and designers explore novel solutions to medical implant problems, the authors recommend the use of alternative materials.

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