Smith & Nephew Launches FasT-Fix(TM) AB Meniscal Repair System

    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.

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