, Volume 399, Issue 3, pp 279-285

Approaches to assessing the benefits and harms of medical devices for application in surgery

Purchase on Springer.com

$39.95 / €34.95 / £29.95*

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

Abstract

Background

The surgical community and the medical device industry enjoy a fruitful cooperation for the benefit of patients, but during the last years several high-risk products have led to problems and scandals, thus highlighting the need for reforms in European CE marking requirements. In October 2013, the European Parliament voted on a draft regulation on medical devices that intends to replace the current directives in 2014.

Purpose

This article offers guidance to surgeons on how to select and assess medical devices for clinical use. Examples include artificial sphincters, surgical meshes, as well as single-incision and robot-assisted surgery. It is important that surgeons have a basic understanding of the requirements for CE marking of new medical devices. Because device performance rather than effectiveness is required for European market entry, surgeons (and their patients) are often left with the burden of using potentially harmful devices. In addition, potential problems concerning the safety or effectiveness of approved devices are concealed by the lack of data transparency. Because regulatory reforms were blocked at the European level, many member states will now seek other ways of restricting the use of medical devices with unknown effectiveness. One interesting model in this regard is to link the reimbursement of new medical devices to the conduct of clinical trials.

Conclusions

Surgeons should develop a structured multidisciplinary approach to innovation management in their hospitals before using a new high-risk device. The key question is how to strike the right balance between innovation and safety.