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J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2008 May;16(5):260-7.

The FDA process for the evaluation and approval of orthopaedic devices.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Florida College of Medicine, Jacksonville, FL 32209, USA.


The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is a scientific, regulatory, and public health agency whose authority includes overseeing the marketing of products relevant to medical practice. Devices are classified based on the extent of oversight needed to ensure public safety. Divisions within the FDA provide specific expertise regarding drugs, devices, biologic products, and combinations thereof. Various pathways exist to apply for marketing through the FDA, depending on the nature of the product and its intended use. Expert panels advise the agency on issues related to product safety and efficacy, and clinical studies may be required to provide data based on these parameters. Clinical data are monitored postapproval for potential adverse events not evident in earlier trials. Orthopaedic surgeons are involved in all aspects of the FDA as employees, consultants, product advocates, participants in clinical trials and advisory panels, and experts involved in the appropriate reporting of adverse events.

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