J&J, Smith & Nephew and Stryker reported seeing a light at the end of the tunnel during the first quarter as nonessential care rebounded, with a backlog of hip procedures pointing the way forward.
After bearing the brunt of a global slowdown in surgical procedures during the pandemic, the orthopaedic sector is seeing the first signs of a turnaround, led by demand for hip replacements.
Patients in need of a new hip, it seems, are less able to withstand a prolonged delay in treatment than those in need of a knee implant. That’s because hip patients tend to have more acute injuries, according to Smith & Nephew executives.
“We’ve seen throughout the pandemic that surgeons have prioritized hip procedures,” Smith & Nephew CFO Anne-Francoise Nesmes said on the company’s first-quarter earnings call.
Knee surgeries, by comparison, are easier to put off, device executives said. Knees “are perhaps the most elective of the procedures in terms of being able to delay,” J&J CEO Alex Gorsky told analysts on his company’s call.
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