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New Report Indicates VERILAST™ Technology From Smith & Nephew Orthopaedics has Lowest Revision Rate Among all Hip Replacement Materials
Date:12/2/2010

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Dec. 2, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- A newly released patient registry reports that hip replacement implants made from ceramicized metal heads which articulate against polyethylene lined cups have been shown to have superior survivorship compared to implants made from any other material five years after surgery. OXINIUM™ Oxidized Zirconium and cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE), the materials in VERILAST Technology from Smith & Nephew (NYSE: SNN, LSE: SN) Orthopaedics Division, comprise the overwhelming majority of ceramicized metal hip implants in the global orthopaedic market. VERILAST Technology is used in both hip and knee replacement implants.

The Australian Orthopaedic Association's National Joint Replacement Registry Annual Report tracks virtually all joint replacements implanted in that country, and in the 2010 edition, the group reports on more than 150,000 hip replacements implanted between 1999 and 2009.

The data shows that implants using ceramicized metal technology, such as OXINIUM Oxidized Zirconium, in combination with polyethylene, remained successful in 97.9%(1) of patients five years after surgery. Implants with bearings made from other materials had to be revised (surgically corrected or replaced) over the same period at higher rates. The survivorship rate for ceramicized metal bearings improved to 98.5-percent in the larger component sizes, and the performance gap between ceramicized metal bearings and other bearing materials widened, as well.

"OXINIUM material in combination with cross-linked polyethylene is unique among hip replacement technologies," says Joseph M. DeVivo, president of Smith & Nephew Orthopaedics. "We're thrilled by these results—we've worked hard to introduce technologies that improve the wear performance of implants, and this report confirms our decades of research and innovation. Active patients demand implants that can keep pace with their lifestyle, and we have the patent on the most technologically advanced material for this segment."

Studying the performance of OXINIUM Oxidized Zirconium against other bearing surfaces in a large patient group is now possible because the 2010 edition of the patient registry marks the first time the Australian Orthopaedic Association has tracked "Ceramicized Metal/Polyethylene" as a distinct category of bearing surface materials. OXINIUM material is a metal alloy that undergoes a proprietary heating process, transforming its surface into a hard, smooth ceramic that is 4,900 times more resistant to scratching than the traditionally used metal alloy, cobalt chrome. The underlying alloy retains its original properties, giving the implant the strength of metal, but the improved wear performance of a ceramic. It is 20-percent lighter than cobalt chrome, and because it doesn't contain detectable amounts of nickel like cobalt chrome does, it is considered hypoallergenic and safe for patients with metal allergies.

Smith & Nephew recently introduced VERILAST™ Technology, which is the combination of OXINIUM material and a unique cross-linked polyethylene formula. This bearing couple has been shown in laboratory tests to reduce hip implant wear by up to 98-percent(2) when compared to cobalt chrome and conventional polyethylene. In April 2010, Smith & Nephew announced the results of an unprecedented laboratory test on the use of VERILAST™ Technology with its LEGION™ Primary Knee System, which showed that it is expected to provide performance for 30 years of typical physical activity.

The results of this in-vitro wear simulation testing have not been proven to quantitatively predict clinical wear performance.  Also, a reduction in total polyethylene wear volume or wear rate alone may not result in an improved clinical outcome as wear particle size and morphology are also critical factors in the evaluation of the potential for wear mediated osteolysis and associated aseptic implant loosening.  Particle size and morphology were not evaluated as part of the testing. The same test has not been performed on the use of VERILAST technology in hip replacements.

(1 ) Australian Orthopaedic Association National Joint Replacement Registry Annual Report. Adelaide: AOA; 2010.

(2 )16 M .G. Li, Z.K. Zhou, D.J. Wood, S.M. Rohrl, J.L. Loppolo, and B. Nivbrandt. (2006) Low wear with high-cross linked polyethylene especially in combination with Oxinium heads. A RSA evaluation. Trans. Orthop. Res. Soc., 31, 643.

About Us

Smith & Nephew is a global medical technology business, specialising in Orthopaedics, including Reconstruction, Trauma and Clinical Therapies; Endoscopy and Advanced Wound Management.  Smith & Nephew is a global leader in arthroscopy and advanced wound management and is one of the leading global orthopaedics companies.

Smith & Nephew is dedicated to helping improve people's lives.  The Company prides itself on the strength of its relationships with its surgeons and professional healthcare customers, with whom its name is synonymous with high standards of performance, innovation and trust.  The Company operates in 32 countries around the world.  Annual sales in 2009 were nearly $3.8 billion.

Caution regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This document contains certain forward-looking statements that may or may not prove accurate.  For example, statements regarding expected revenue growth and trading margins, market trends and our product pipeline are forward-looking statements.  Phrases such as "aim", "plan", "intend", "anticipate", "well-placed", "believe", "estimate", "expect", "target", "consider" and similar expressions are generally intended to identify forward-looking statements.  Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from what is expressed or implied by the statements. For Smith & Nephew, these factors include: economic and financial conditions in the markets we serve, especially those affecting health care providers, payors and customers; price levels for established and innovative medical devices; developments in medical technology; regulatory approvals, reimbursement decisions or other government actions; product defects or recalls; litigation relating to patent or other claims; legal compliance risks and related investigative, remedial or enforcement actions; strategic actions, including acquisitions and dispositions and our success in integrating acquired businesses; and numerous other matters that affect us or our markets, including those of a political, economic, business or competitive nature.  Please refer to the documents that Smith & Nephew has filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission under the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, including Smith & Nephew's most recent annual report on Form 20F, for a discussion of certain of these factors.

Any forward-looking statement is based on information available to Smith & Nephew as of the date of the statement.  All written or oral forward-looking statements attributable to Smith & Nephew are qualified by this caution.  Smith & Nephew does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement to reflect any change in circumstances or in Smith & Nephew's expectations.

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