ANDOVER, Mass., April 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/-- Smith & Nephew, Inc., Endoscopy Division, a subsidiary of Smith & Nephew plc (NYSE: SNN) (London Stock Exchange: SN), today announced the introduction of the FasT-Fix(TM) AB Meniscal Repair System, a new implant that applies the latest advances in medical technology to an established repair technique in the field of arthroscopic surgery. The FasT-Fix System, first launched in April 2001, offers the strength of the industry's "gold standard" -- a vertical or horizontal mattress suture stitch -- but does not require the open incision traditionally associated with meniscal repair. The new FasT-Fix AB System utilizes the same surgical technique as the FasT-Fix System, but includes an absorbable implant material that offers surgeons an important alternative in treating patients. "Because of its ability to provide superior fixation strength without the need for a posteromedial or posterolateral skin incision, the FasT-Fix System remains at the forefront of meniscal repair," said William G. Clancy Jr., M.D., American Sports Medicine Institute, Birmingham, Ala. "Offering an alternative with a bioabsorbable feature further illustrates Smith & Nephew's focus on innovation." The menisci are two half-moon shaped pads of cartilage located at the top of the tibia. Usually, meniscal tears in younger adults are the result of a forced twisting injury, often occurring during athletic activity. In older adults, degeneration of the menisci traditionally leads to injury. According to industry and company estimates, more than 225,000 people worldwide underwent arthroscopic meniscal repair in 2002, and the number of procedures is expected to have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly five percent through 2007. "By eliminating the traditional open incision associated with meniscal repair while maintaining the same strength and quality as suture repair, the FasT-Fix System has led an important shift in focus for the needs of knee arthroscopy patients," said Ron Sparks, president, Smith & Nephew Endoscopy. The FasT-Fix AB Meniscal Repair System is manufactured with Poly-L-Lactide Polymer (PLLA), a material of the polyhydroxy acid family that in clinical applications, has been shown to absorb over time. About Smith & Nephew Inc., Endoscopy Division Smith & Nephew Endoscopy (www.endoscopy1.com) is a world leader in the development and commercialization of endoscopic techniques. Within endoscopy, Smith & Nephew is the recognized world leader in arthroscopy (endoscopic procedures performed on articulating joints). It is one of the core business units of Smith & Nephew plc, (NYSE: SNN) (London Stock Exchange: SN), a leading worldwide medical devices company with a highly successful track record in developing, manufacturing and marketing a wide variety of innovative and technologically advanced tissue repair products. These products are primarily in the areas of bone, joints, skin and other soft tissue. Smith & Nephew has extensive marketing and distribution capabilities, with established sales in more than 90 countries. This press release contains forward-looking statements. The company wishes to caution the reader that actual results may differ from those discussed in the forward-looking statements and may be adversely affected by, among other things, risks associated with new product development and commercialization, clinical trials, intellectual property, regulatory approvals, competitive offerings, the company's overall business strategy and other factors. Contact: Joe Metzger Smith & Nephew Endoscopy (978) 749-1330
SOURCE Smith & Nephew, Inc.