The orthopedic devices industry is expected to continue being a hotspot in the global medical technology space and is expected to come in third in terms of sales/revenue, after in-vitro diagnostics and cardiology, by the year 2020. The innovations in the advancements of technology and the rising incidence of orthopedic ailments are expected to be the major drivers of market growth. This article highlights some of the latest advancements in orthopedic devices technology, and the key players regarding the same.
Robotic surgeries have led to an exponential decrease in the post-operative care costs and time, due to the lesser number of incisions made during the surgery. The incisions are also smaller in size which makes the procedure less invasive than conventional surgeries. Orthopedic surgeries involving robots also provide for extreme precision which can be repeated and copied over multiple surgeries. This leads to shorter hospital stays and quicker time of recovery.
The Da Vinci Surgical System was the first robotic system to be approved by the US FDA in 2000. Many companies today are investing in this field for the provision of improved navigation at the time of surgery and also for obtaining 3D scans which aid in the designing of customized joints. Stryker, Mazor Robotics, OMNlife Science Inc., Zimmer Biomet, Smith & Nephew, Verb Surgical, and Intuitive Surgical, are some of the forefront companies investing in robotic surgeries. The recent acquisitions among these include
- The acquisition of Medtech by Zimmer Biomet which led to the introduction of the ROSA robotic device used in the surgeries of the spine and brain.
- The acquisition of Mako Surgical Corp. by Stryker for gaining access to robotic products for total hip replacement and total knee construction.
- The acquisition of Blue Belt Holdings by Smith & Nephew for partial knee replacements robotic surgery products.
However, the technology pertaining to robotic surgeries is quite expensive to be acquired and there is a requirement for stronger evidence-based studies for demonstrating that better outcomes can be achieved through robotic surgery.
Orthobiologic technologies are aiding in the acceleration of the healing process. Orthobiologics function by harnessing the regenerative potential of the cells within the human body and are made from substances which occur naturally in the body. They are used for improvement in the healing time and capacities of injured muscles, tendons, ligaments, and broken bones. Orthobiologics include autologous conditioned serum, autologous blood, growth factors, bone grafts, stem cells, and platelet-rich plasma, among others. Further, the development of desired tissues from the mesenchymal stem cells found in bone marrow has been proven to be effective.
The latest innovations in this field such as growth factor and stem cell-based strategies are expected to lead to drastic reductions in recovery times. Drug-eluting bone grafts are an innovation which can be applied in dealing with conditions like orthopedic surgical infections. The efficiency of growth factors has also been proven by clinical studies, which show that the healing process can be accelerated by their application. The uses of stem cells in self-regeneration have also increased to encompass the healing of bone fractures and non-unions, articular cartilage, ligaments, tendons, and also the spine.
The key players investing in the field of orthobiologics include
- DePuy Synthes (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson) – for solutions in spinal care
- Stryker – development of biomaterials for spine, joint replacements, and trauma
- Smith & Nephew – bio-implants and joint replacement systems
- ISTO Technologies – development of concentrated bone marrow aspirate systems for formation of new bones in spinal fusions, and novel bone grafts
- LifeNet Health – development of bio-implants for repair of joints and trauma
- Wright – developing bone void fillers
- Exatech – developing spinal and orthobiologic solutions
The other developments in the orthopedic devices industry include
- The advancements in surgical procedure by the application of motion preservation techniques, performance of minimally invasive surgeries by the use of endoscopes, tubular retractors, and computer-aided navigation systems, tissue guided surgery, and cement-less knee replacements.
- The application of technologies and implants which have been smart sensor enabled, and provide real-time information to surgeons for the monitoring of post-operative dynamics as well as for better positioning. Stryker and OrthoSensor are working together on a smart knee implant for the optimization of joint balance during total knee arthroplasty. Zimmer Biomet and OrthoSensor have also entered into a partnership for co-marketing of smart implants.
- The improvements in 3-D printing technology are also a development to look forward to as they are currently aiding in the production of medical devices, customized implants, and orthotics from a variety of materials. The benefits offered by this technology include the reduction in surgery times. Cost savings, and better stability of the implant in the long-run, among others.
Therefore, there has been a plethora of innovations in relation to the advancements in the technology of orthopedic devices. These developments have aided in the reduction of costs and time, and have also provided for the optimization and personalization of outcomes. The future of orthopedic devices holds the likes of technological developments such as “Intelligent Orthopedics” which is an amalgamation of high-end technology with traditional techniques.
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