Surgical robots dominated the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons as Stryker launched its highly anticipated Mako total knee application, Smith & Nephew showed off a prototype of its Navio total knee application (with a projected launch of mid-2017), and Zimmer Biomet announced an aggressive timetable for launching its Rosa total knee application within the next 18 months.
All the hype surrounding robotics begs the question, do these robots represent the future standard of care in orthopedics, or are they just a fad?
“We think robotics are real and here to stay,” said Mike Matson, an analyst with Needham & Co. “But the tougher question is, just how big will it get?”
Matson said he does not expect robotics to break out of its niche and become the standard of care. He also predicted that adoption of surgical robots could be slower than some investors are anticipating.
“Has robotics addressed the difficulties of navigation (ease of use, learning curve, added time, etc)? We’re not convinced that it has, at least in its current form,” Matson said.
On the other hand, Matson said patients seem to have an easier time grasping the concept of robotics than navigation, which should make consumer marketing more effective. Still, he added, “we’re not sure that this is enough to make robotics the standard of care.”
Image Credit: Zimmer Biomet