Smith & Nephew launches next-gen knee replacement

Smith & Nephew launched the Legion HK hinge knee in the U.S. and Canada--courtesy of Smith & Nephew

Smith & Nephew ($SNN) launched its next-generation Legion HK hinge knee implant in the U.S. and Canada, saying the new device mimics the knee's natural functionality to provide a new option for patients.

S&N says the latest Legion uses a rotating technology modeled after natural knee anatomy, improving range of motion while reducing the stress placed on the hinge link, cutting back on long-term wear-and-tear. The result is a simpler, more effective implant for primary and revision knee surgeries, Smith & Nephew's Gaurav Agarwal said in a statement.

"This signals a real change in the hinge knee landscape," Agarwal said. "With this implant, we are not only simplifying the procedure; we are transforming these complex surgeries from salvage operations to true joint-rescue procedures."

The hinge knee device follows S&N's Legion total knee, which has been implanted in about 1 million patients over the last 15 years, the company said. The new device is designed for patients with highly unstable knees and ligaments that can't support the more common total knee, S&N said. The company estimates the market for hinged knee revision at about $300 million per year.

The new device uses an innovative design to meet an unmet need, the company says, and that's just what Smith & Nephew's CEO claims the medical device industry needs. Olivier Bohuon told The Financial Times back in May that the largest obstacle facing medtech companies is an unwillingness to develop new technologies, which leads to declining sales and shrinking market shares.

- read S&N's release

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