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Business & Technology Briefs (11/2006)

Executive Summary

A short summary of recent product developments in the Orthopedics/Spine, Aesthetics, Stent, Surgery, and Vascular Markets.

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Medtronic Sofamor Danek: The Trials of the Front Runner

Few companies have dominated a clinical space for as long and as thoroughly as Medtronic in spine surgery. Once a kind of clinical backwater of orthopedics, spine has become one of the fast-growing of all medical technology sectors, and MSD has played a leadership role-not just in developing new technology, but, perhaps even more importantly, in helping to establish spine surgery as a major therapeutic area and commercial market. As spine, and MSD along with it, has exploded, the company risks becoming a victim of its own success. With clinical philosophies and approaches shifting, technology advancing rapidly, and a host of competitors large and small all clamoring for piece of the pie, the challenge for MSD becomes clear: how to maintain its leadership in a market whose success it did so much to foster.

Guidant Pioneers Stents' Move North to Carotids

Stenting moves from coronaries to carotids to do for stroke what these devices did for heart attacks. This new endovascular approach has surgeons switching, not fighting.

Embolic Protection: Better Outcomes Not Enough

For 20 years, interventional cardiologists denied the need for embolic protection devices, considering embolic events to generally be the infrequent results of poor technique. Nevertheless, recent data has revealed embolization as a potentially serious and relatively common event during percutaneous coronary interventions. While embolic protection devices have been shown to dramatically reduce embolic complications, physician adoption is slow. Several companies are developing different approaches to protect against embolization, recognizing that better patient data alone isn't enough to convince interventionalists to employ these devices.

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