Personalized Hip and Knee Replacements: U.S. Manufacturers Battle for Innovation Spotlight

Customized joint implants, additive manufacturing, and the rise of Ambulatory Surgical Centers fuel personalized solutions.

There are over 1.6 million hip and knee reconstruction surgeries performed every year in the United States, and that number is growing at an impressive compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.5 percent. At this rate, by 2024, yearly procedure volumes will exceed 2.1 million1.

Manufacturers in this space are attempting to capitalize on the increasing demand for hip and knee replacement procedures, but strong competition and a shift toward personalized solutions and 3D-printed technologies will likely result in significant disruptions that could have a profound effect on the current market leaders.

The large joint orthopedic device market in the U.S. is characterized by a relatively high degree of commoditization, in addition to aging population trends. In order to differentiate themselves from the competition, companies continue to emphasize the importance of innovation by heavily investing in research and development activities and by completing strategic acquisitions of various high-tech startups. As indicated in iData Research’s latest market analysis, the gap between the market shares of the top market players has been narrowing over the last few years, and competition in this lucrative market will continue to intensify.

The Future Is Personalized Solutions

Customized treatment options in the medical device industry have become a more prominent trend in recent years, and demand for custom large joint solutions has been growing accordingly. Currently, there are only a limited number of true custom implant options available in the U.S. Conformis offers a comprehensive portfolio of custom implants, which includes solutions for both partial and total knee replacements. In March 2016, Conformis expanded their custom implant portfolio by launching the iTotal PS Custom Knee System. Their previous product, the iTotal CR System, was introduced in May 2011. Their technology relies on creating custom implants based on the CT scan of a patient’s joint, which is then transferred to a 3D model and manufactured with the assistance of 3D printing technology.

Although they offer a number of clinical benefits, the adoption of custom joint implants has been constrained by their prohibitively high cost. While some experts believe increased adoption of 3D printing technology would make the creation of custom implants more cost-effective in the long run, the current large joint device players are focusing more on personalized instrumentation, as well as enhancing the qualities of off-the-shelf implants. Personalized instruments are meant to improve the precision of off-the-shelf implant positioning and alignment in a way tailored to the patient’s individual anatomy, an improvement in application while maintaining a lower cost compared to true custom implants.

One of the promising developments in the area of personalized solutions is intelligent instrumentation, for example, disposable sensors. A disposable sensor, such as the VERASENSE from OrthoSensor, creates real-time visualization and quantification of the patient’s individual parameters during knee replacement surgery.

Yulia Sorokina | Orthopedic Design & Technology

Image Credit: Conformis

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About Peter Coffaro 493 Articles
A growth-driven and strategic executive, Peter Coffaro commands more than 20 years of progressive management success within the medical device industry. As a District Sales Manager for Stryker Orthopaedics, Peter was responsible for managing and directing a regional sales force to achieve sales and profit goals within the Rocky Mountain region. Previously, he was the Director of Sales & Marketing for Amp Orthopedics. In this role, Peter was responsible for planning, developing, and leading all sales and marketing initiatives. Peter is a former orthopedic distributor in the Pacific Northwest. He has also worked with DePuy Orthopaedics as well as Zimmer, and held positions in sales, sales training, and sales management. Peter has an extensive background in organizational development, business development, sales management, negotiating and P&L management. Peter holds a B.S. degree in Biology from Northern Illinois University.

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