Although biotech and pharmaceutical stocks get more attention, there are plenty of medical device stocks that have plenty to offer to investors. According to a report by strategic consulting and market research firm Lucintel, the aging population and increasing health awareness are a couple of key factors expected to drive growth for the medical device industry in the next few years.

Some medical device stocks promise solid dividends in addition to growth. The three best dividend stocks in the medical device industry right now are Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT), Medtronic PLC (NYSE:MDT), and Smith & Nephew PLC (NYSE:SNN). Here's why.

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Abbott Laboratories

Abbott Laboratories markets a broad line of medical devices, including coronary, endovascular, vessel closure, and structural heart devices for the treatment of vascular disease, electrophysiology devices, and devices for eye surgeries. The company also has a large established pharmaceuticals business and is a major player in the nutritionals and diagnostics markets. In 2016, Abbott generated revenue of $20.8 billion, with earnings totaling $1.4 billion. 

The company's dividend currently yields 2.32%. Abbott is a member of the elite Dividend Aristocrats, a group of companies that have increased their dividends for at least 25 consecutive years. For Abbott, the streak of raising dividends is an impressive 45 years. The company has paid a dividend every quarter of every year since 1924. 

At first glance, investors might think there could be a problem for Abbott in keeping its dividend streak going. The company has been spending more to fund its dividend program than it has made in profits. However, Abbott's solid cash flow should allow it to keep the dividend checks flowing. 

In addition, the company's earnings outlook is positive. Abbott completed the acquisition of medical device maker St. Jude Medical earlier this year, a move that should boost its revenue and earnings. Wall Street analysts project the company will grow earnings by an average annual rate of 11% over the next five years.

Medtronic

Medtronic is one of the largest medical device companies in the world. The company has four business segments: cardiac and vascular, minimally invasive therapies, restorative therapies, and diabetes. Each of these segments develops and markets medical devices and other products focused on their respective therapeutic areas. Medtronic reported revenue last year of $28.8 billion, with earnings of $3.5 billion.

The company's dividend yield stands at 2.04%. Like Abbott, Medtronic is a member of the Dividend Aristocrats. It has increased its dividend for 39 years in a row, with especially significant dividend growth over the last 10 years.

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Medtronic's dividend payout ratio is 59.01%. This indicates that the company shouldn't have significant problems continuing to pay out dividends to shareholders.

Analysts expect Medtronic to grow earnings by an average of 7% annually over the next five years. The company intends to elbow its way into the lucrative market for robotic surgical systems late next year, a move that could pay off significantly over time. 

Smith & Nephew

Smith & Nephew is a global medical device company that sells hip and knee implants, products supporting minimally invasive surgery of joints, and advanced wound devices, as well as other products. The company made $4.7 billion in revenue last year and reported a profit of just over $1 billion. 

Its dividend currently yields 2.1%, ranking Smith & Nephew just ahead of Medtronic among medical device companies. Although Smith & Nephew isn't a member of the Dividend Aristocrats, the company has a good overall track record of dividend increases. It has also paid a dividend each year since 1937. 

Smith & Nephew's payout ratio is below 36%. This low ratio indicates that the company should be able to keep the dividends coming without much trouble.

Wall Street doesn't have great expectations for growth from Smith & Nephew. Analysts project average annual earnings growth of around 5% over the next few years. However, the company has made some acquisitions that could help drive growth down the road, including the purchase last year of Blue Belt Technologies, which makes the Navio orthopedic robotic-assisted surgery system. 

Keith Speights has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Medtronic. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.