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Smith & Nephew Orthopaedics Selected to Develop New Technology for Treating Battlefield Injuries
Date:11/20/2009

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Nov. 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Smith & Nephew ( SNN, LSE: SN) Orthopaedics Division is pleased to announce the signing of a technology development contract with the United States Department of Defense that may lead to the creation of a fracture fixation system intended to revolutionize the treatment of the limbs of soldiers who sustain battlefield injuries.

Last year, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the central research and development agency for the U.S. Department of Defense, accepted proposals to create and develop "fracture putty," a dynamic new material that would markedly enhance the healing of soldiers who suffer traumatic wounds in the field of battle. These wounds often lead to secondary fractures and infections, multiple surgeries, long rehabilitation times and, in some cases, amputation.

In particular, injuries sustained from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are difficult to treat due to the usually significant loss of bone and soft tissue. The fracture putty system is intended to provide substantial support of the injured limb early in the body's natural healing process so the soldier can more quickly participate in physical therapy and thus reduce the risk of further complications. The putty will then resorb - meaning it will dissolve over time, leaving natural healthy bone in its place. Today's standard treatment methods include permanent metal support devices such as plates, rods and bone screws.

Smith & Nephew is the only medical device company chosen to work on this futuristic material. Beyond this initial project, the company may expand the application of the technology to the treatment of other kinds of bone fractures in both military and civilian trauma care.

"Fracture putty represents the ultimate convergence of orthopaedic material science and mechanics, and has the potential to revolutionize the way patients are treated," said
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SOURCE Smith & Nephew
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