Orthopedic surgeons debate whether knee implant designed for women is better than standard implant

Many orthopedic surgeons are debating whether Warsaw, Ind.-based Zimmer Holdings' knee implant Gender Solutions, which is designed specifically for women, is better for women than the standard artificial knee, Reuters reports.

According to the Reuters, companies are marketing to women because they currently receive about 60% of knee implants and are expected to fuel the implant business because women live longer and are more likely to be overweight or obese than men.

Kalamazoo, Mich.-based Stryker in 2005 introduced a knee implant, called Triathlon, designed for women and small men, and Arlington, Texas-based Wright Medical Technology has submitted an application to FDA for approval of an implant based on a person's size.

According to Zimmer, Gender Solutions, which was introduced last year, is smaller and shaped more like a woman's knee, so it fits and functions better than standard implants.

Many orthopedic surgeons say that the product, which is about twice the cost of standard implants, is a "marketing gimmick" but that they will use it if a patient requests it, according to Reuters.

Raymond Elliott, Zimmer chair and CEO, said that Gender Solutions has been more successful than the company anticipated when it was released last year and that the product's success has contributed to a 23% earnings increase in the fourth quarter of 2006.

Zimmer by the end of the year plans to introduce a hip implant designed for women, Reuters reports (Sherman/Dixon, Reuters, 2/15).

Kaisernetwork.orgThis article is republished with kind permission from our friends at the The Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery of in-depth coverage of health policy developments, debates and discussions. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for Kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Copyright 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.


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