Medical implants

Published June 2019

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Overview

  • Medical implants can be used to treat or monitor health conditions, or to restore body function.
  • High-profile cases involving failing implants causing harm to patients have triggered a review of regulation to strengthen evidence and safety requirements for implants.
  • Ethical issues arise in relation to equitable patient access to implants, the responsibilities of healthcare professionals in offering and monitoring medical implants, uncertainty about the long-term effects of implants and the problems this can pose for decision making, and liability when something goes wrong.
  • Increasingly, implants are network-enabled, which expands possibilities for data gathering, monitoring, and analysis. This also might make implants more vulnerable to error and attack
  • Challenges for policy-makers include ensuring effective post-market surveillance of implants, promoting innovation that addresses patient need, and preparing for data and cybersecurity risks associated with connected implants.

Previous work

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Nuffield Council on Bioethics
28 Bedford Square
London, WC1B 3JS

Tel: +44 (0)20 7681 9619

General enquiries:
bioethics@nuffieldbioethics.org

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press@nuffieldbioethics.org

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