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  7. How to Prepare a Traditional 510(k)
  1. Premarket Submissions

How to Prepare a Traditional 510(k)

How to Prepare a Traditional 510(k)


There are three types of Premarket Notification 510(k)s that may be submitted to FDA: Traditional, Special, and Abbreviated. The Special and Abbreviated 510(k) methods were developed under "The New 510(k) Paradigm" to help streamline the 510(k) review process. The Special 510(k) and Abbreviated 510(k) methods can only be used if certain criteria are met. The Traditional 510(k) method can be used under any circumstances.

There is no Premarket Notification 510(k) "form" to complete. A 510(k) is a document containing information required under 21 CFR 807 Subpart E. All 510(k)s are based on the concept of substantial equivalence (SE) to a legally marketed (predicate) device. All 510(k)s provide a comparison between the device to be marketed and the predicate device or devices.

For more information on the regulatory framework, policies, and practices underlying FDA’s 510(k) review, please refer to the guidance The 510(k) Program: Evaluating Substantial Equivalence in Premarket Notification [510(k)].

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Find a Predicate Device

You should identify a predicate device or devices to which you will compare your device. We strongly recommend that the 510(k) number of the predicate device be identified. Use a device(s) that is as similar to your device as possible. (You may claim equivalence to more than one predicate, if necessary). A predicate device will usually be a recently cleared device. Please refer to How to Find and Effectively Use Predicate Devices for additional guidance.

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Locate Guidance Documents

FDA has published many device specific guidance documents as well as general guidance for biocompatibility, software contained in medical devices, electromagnetic compatibility, etc. These documents are available through the Guidance Documents page.

Device specific guidance documents describe in detail the information which should be included in the 510(k) to enable FDA to determine SE for that particular type of device. These guidance documents should be consulted at the device planning stage. In addition, the design control requirements (21 CFR 820.30) of the Quality System regulation should be reviewed as well since much of the information and data developed to meet design controls is the same information included in the 510(k).

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Content and Format of a Traditional 510(k)

A Traditional 510(k) submission must include the required elements identified in 21 CFR 807.87 (Information required in a premarket notification submission). CDRH recommends that you follow the Traditional 510(k) format provided in the guidance document, "Format for Traditional and Abbreviated 510(k)s." The guidance document will help you create a complete 510(k). Pertinent elements of a Traditional 510(k) are reiterated below and are described in the guidance:

  • Items required under 21 CFR 807.87 (Information required in a Premarket Notification submission), including
    • the name of device, include the trade or proprietary name, if any, and the common or usual name or classification name of the device. Provide what you believe to be the classification of the device, appropriate panel (e.g. cardiovascular, dental, etc.), and product code, if known.
    • description of the device, include device specifications and reference applicable guidance documents, special controls, or standards; photographs or engineering drawings should be supplied, if applicable
    • comparison with a predicate device(s), indicating similarities and/or differences accompanied by data, as appropriate; this information may include an identification of materials, design considerations, energy expected to be used or delivered by the device, and a description of the operational principles of the device.
    • intended use of the device,
    • proposed label, labeling, and advertisements for the device and directions for use.
  • Information on sterilization, biocompatibility, expiration date, etc., if applicable.

For additional information on 510(k) contents, see Content of a 510(k) and 510(k) Format Tips.

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Where to Submit a 510(k)

A 510(k) should be put in a temporary, inexpensive binder. DO NOT permanently bind the application. FDA will take the submission out of whatever binding in which it was submitted, 3-hole punch the left margin, and put the 510(k) in a 3-ring "jacket" for review. Paper size should be 8.5 inches by 11 inches.

You must submit two copies of your 510(k). One of your two copies must be submitted in electronic format. FDA does NOT return the 510(k) submission after review. You should retain a copy of your 510(k) for your records. Your medical device submission package should be sent to CDRH’s or CBER’s Document Control Center (DCC). The current mailing address for CDRH’s DCC and a link to CBER’s DCC’s mailing address are provided on the eCopy Program for Medical Device Submissions webpage.

We recommend that you send your 510(k) to FDA by a method that will provide a signed receipt of delivery, e.g., registered mail with a return receipt or a commercial delivery service. You should receive an acknowledgment letter from FDA, including the assigned 510(k) number, within one week of delivery. 510(k) Submission Process describes the review process after the submission is received by FDA.

Traditional, Special, and Abbreviated 510(k)s require the same review fee. Do NOT send the fee with the application. Information on how to submit the review fee can be found at Medical Device User Fees.