Innovations in the Global Orthopedic Devices Industry

The orthopedic device industry is driven by the rising incidence of disorders related to obesity and sedentary lifestyles. Demand for specialized and personalized orthopedic interventions due to sports injuries also is on the rise. Frost & Sullivan has identified the latest innovations.

The orthopedic device industry is driven by the rising incidence of disorders related to obesity and sedentary lifestyles. Demand for specialized and personalized orthopedic interventions due to sports injuries also is on the rise.

The industry is being shaped by various trends, such as the demand for personalized therapies and implants, as well as improvements in surgical technologies that ensure a better patient experience through comfort, faster surgery and recovery times, higher efficiency and optimized outcomes. Changing reimbursement trends and increased scrutiny by regulatory bodies, which are becoming more risk-averse in terms of orthopedic implants and devices, have led to strong clinical evidence-based studies, further pushing innovative technologies. 

Frost & Sullivan has identified the main innovation themes in this space, with significant advancements over the past two decades that have focused on:

  • Robotics for less-invasive procedures and reproducible precision, which is resulting in shorter hospital stays and faster recoveries. The interest in this technology over the past 5 years is reflected in major acquisitions, such as Zimmer Biomet’s acquisition of Medtech SA in 2016 to enhance its surgical robotics capabilities; Stryker’s acquisition of Mako Surgical in 2013 to bolster its total knee replacement portfolio and expand to other application areas; and Smith & Nephew’s acquisition of Blue Belt Technologies in 2015, which enabled greater procedural efficiencies involving Smith & Nephew’s partial knee implant products. Start-up funding also has accelerated in the space.
  • Orthobiologics, which emphasizes the harnessing of the regenerative potential in the cells of the human body. Recent innovations in this field include growth factor and stem cell-based strategies that lead to faster recoveries. A few major participants investing in the technology include Stryker (biomaterials for various spine and joint replacements), DePuy Synthes (spinal care orthobiologics solutions), Zimmer Biomet (advanced biologics solutions for joint preservation; cartilage repair products) and Smith & Nephew (joint replacement systems and bio-implants).
  • Surgical procedure improvement solutions, such as motion preservation techniques, minimally invasive surgeries, tissue-guided surgeries and cement-less joint replacements, which prevent significant muscle damage during surgeries, promote faster recovery and lower health care costs. Companies investing in this space include Zimmer Biomet, Stryker, DePuy Synthes, Globus Medical and Medtronic. The solutions include advanced interspinous spacers, dynamic stabilization devices, tubular retractors, endoscopes and computer-aided navigation systems.  
  • Smart, sensor-enabled technologies and implants, which have embedded sensors that provide real-time information to surgeons for positioning and postoperative evaluation. Smart devices and tools offer patients better care throughout the treatment pathway and are more cost-effective for providers.
  • 3-D printing, which can produce customized implants, medical devices and orthotics from diverse materials. 3-D printing can reduce surgery times, save money and produce implants that offer better stability in the long run. Major participants including Johnson & Johnson, Stryker and Zimmer Biomet are investing in the technology.
  • Innovations in diagnostic and surgical imaging, such as 3-D imaging and surgical navigation and imaging systems, which are helping surgeons to better evaluate, plan and execute surgeries through the accurate reconstruction of the musculoskeletal system. These also help surgeons track instruments in relation to the patient’s anatomy. Medtronic has launched the StealthStation surgical navigation system to help surgeons make data-driven decisions.  Other companies investing in these technologies include Siemens Healthineers, Philips, GE Healthcare and Carestream Health.

Frost & Sullivan has noticed several innovative companies in the domain:

OrthoSensor (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

Founded in 2007, OrthoSensor specializes in smart orthopedic intraoperative sensors. The company focuses on providing quantification and intelligence to orthopedic procedures through integrated, sensor-enabled technologies. Its sensor-assisted technology platform, VERASENSE, is a soft tissue balance quantification tool that enables surgeons to quantifiably position and balance the knee joint in total knee replacement (TKR) procedures. VERASENSE, when used in tandem with primary or revision TKR workflows and knee implant systems, enables surgeons to make informed decisions on soft tissue balance and implant positioning based on scientific evidence.

Brainlab (Munich, Germany)

Brainlab is a global technology leader and pioneer in software-driven medical technologies enabling cost-effective, targeted, less-invasive procedures for improved patient care and health outcomes. Brainlab’s TraumaCad is a leading digital templating solution assisting with the preoperative planning of orthopedic surgical procedures. TraumaCad provides sophisticated modules for virtually all arthroplasty procedures—total hip replacement, TKR, trauma, pediatric, deformity correction, foot and ankle, spine, and upper limb—and also offers 3-D  visualization for digital templating with computed tomography and magnetic resonance scans.

Simplify Medical (San Jose, Calif.)

In order to effectively treat symptomatic cervical disc degeneration, Simplify Medical developed a cervical disc replacement implant with a patient-friendly design. The implant is a hybrid composition of polymeric material and ceramic composite that is anatomic in design and preserves the range of motion with a biocompatible, porous titanium endplate coating.

The Road Ahead

The industry is expected to continue its focus on cost-effective therapies and quicker procedures that are personalized and promise better outcomes. In line with this, robotic surgery and image- guided technologies and treatment planning systems will see significant adoption. 3-D printing will be used for patient-specific applications as well as for volume manufacturing. Intelligent orthopedics will be the future of the industry, resulting in a combination of traditional techniques and high-end technology, such as smart sensors and mobile apps that support products.

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