The nation's 11 most implanted devices: Eye lenses top list

Artificial eye lenses are the most implanted medical devices in the United States, according to a recent study on commonly implanted devices from news and opinion company 24/7 Wall St.

For the study, researchers analyzed National Health Survey data, professional physician services, medical journals, and Securities and Exchange Commission filings. They determined exact total costs for some devices based on self-reporting by physician sub-specialties and estimated the cost of other devices using Medicare outlays, academic publications, and industry reports. The researchers then ranked the devices by the number of procedures performed each year and determined that the top 11 most commonly implanted devices are:

  • Artificial eye lenses (2.58 million procedures per year);
  • Tympanostomy tubes (715,000);
  • Coronary stents (560,000);
  • Artificial knees (543,000);
  • Traumatic fracture repair hardware (453,000);
  • Intra-uterine devices (425,000);
  • Spinal fusion hardware (413,000);
  • Breast implants (366,000);
  • Cardiac pacemakers (235,567);
  • Artificial hips (230,000); and
  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillators (133,262).

According to the study, the number of some medical device implants has increased significantly across the last decade. For example, eye and ear device implantations increased by at least 40% from 1996 to 2006, while spinal fusion implants increased by 111% from 1998 to 2008.

24/7 Wall St. also noted that many of the cases reviewed involved devices whose effectiveness was not as well researched as their use implied. It found that some implants, such as implantable cardioverter defibrillators, may be overutilized, while others, such as artificial knees, may be underutilized (24/7 Wall St. release, 7/18; MassDevice, 7/21; Grayson, Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, 7/22).

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