Eye and ear devices are the most implanted medical devices in the U.S., according to a new study by financial news and opinion company 24/7 Wall St.
Artificial eye lenses for the treatment of cataracts topped the list of the 11 most frequently implanted medical devices in the U.S. with more than 2.5 million surgeries performed annually at a rate of about $3,200 to $4,500 per eye, depending on the type of lens. Total expenditure was estimated at between $8 billion and $10 billion per year.
The vision-correcting procedure far outpaced the rest of the list, with second place going to ear tubes with 715,000 procedures performed yearly.
Medical devices are big business in the U.S., posting nearly $85 billion revenue per year, and a big chunk of that goes toward devices that are implanted in the body.
24/7 Wall St. ranked the devices by number of procedures performed using National Health Survey data, multiple professional physician services, peer-reviewed journals and SEC filings.
While the FDA considers reauthorizing medical device user fees amid much uproar from the med-tech world, industry lobby AdvaMed reported recently that device and diagnostic spending has barely budged over the last 20 years.
"A significant driver of changed medical practice has been the development of new medical devices," the AdvaMed report concluded. "In view of the conventional wisdom about the role of medical technology in driving up costs, it is surprising that the cost of medical devices during this period has risen little as a share of total national health expenditures and, since 1992, has remained essentially constant as a percent of national health expenditures."
According to the 24/7 Wall St. report, implantation of just eye and ear devices have increased at least 40 percent in the last 10 years. Spinal fusion implants (number seven on the list) rose 111 percent from 1998 to 2008. Med-tech giant Stryker Corp. (NYSE:SYK) alone reported a 10 percent increase in artificial knees sales (number four on the list) since 2009.
The top 5 most implanted devices in the U.S.:
1. Artificial Eye Lenses (Psuedophakos)
No. of procedures: 2.582 million
Total annual expenditure: $8 billion – $10 billion
Average cost per eye: $3,200-$4,500, depending on lens type
Major manufacturers: Alcon Laboratories/Novartis, Abbott Laboratories, Bausch & Lomb
2. Ear Tubes (Tympanostomy Tubes)
Number of procedures: 715,000
Total annual expenditure: $1 billion-$2 billion
Average cost per procedure: $1,000-$4,500
Major manufacturer: N/A
3. Coronary Stents
Number of procedures: 560,000
Total annual expenditure: $7.5 billion
Average cost per procedure: $13,000
Major manufacturer: Boston Scientific (46%), Abbott Laboratories
4. Artificial Knees
Number of procedures: 543,000
Total annual expenditure: $12 billion
Average cost per procedure: $22,000
Major manufacturer: Zimmer (24%), Depuy/J&J, Stryker, Biomet, Smith & Nephew
5. Metal Screws, Pins, Plates, and Rods (Traumatic Fracture Repair)
Number of procedures: 453,000
Total annual expenditure: $4.5 billion
Average cost per procedure: $2,000-$20,000
Major manufacturer: Synthes (50%)
For the full list see "The Eleven Most Implanted Medical Devices In America" by
24/7 Wall St.